Saturday, December 2, 2023

What Do You Do with a Child That Has a Higher IQ Than You?

           (Photo left of 6-Year-old genius Declan Lopez.)

In 1975 my wife and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives. As young proud parents we thought everything he did was amazing.

As the months flew by every bit of progress - from crawling, walking, and talking - convinced us that we had a child genius.

In the following years we had two more boys who we were sure were going to challenge Einstein's intellect with every clever thing they did.

When it finally became apparent we weren't raising a crop of Mensa society candidates we gracefully accepted the fact that they were just normal and bright children who would never have inventions named after them.

I sometimes wonder what I'd have done if they were geniuses. I can only imagine some of the challenges that would have come up.

I read a story the other day about a 6-year-old New Jersey girl who has a 138 IQ. To put that in perspective, the highest average score for people under 64 years of age is 109.

Her name is Declan Lopez and she's a bubbly kindergartener who just happens to be interested in arts, science, math, geography, and reads at a fourth-grade level.

She was recently integrated into the Mensa society, the oldest-IQ society in the world. Her parents started noticing her intelligence when she was just 18 months old.

"We were on a trip in the airport, and she just started to count in Mandarin," the proud mom told WPVI-TV.

If my kid had started to speak Mandarin at 18 months old, I wouldn't have even known it. More than likely, I would have written it off as baby goblygook.

There's no distinct answer to has the highest IQ, but it is not Albert Einstein. 

Those with higher IQs outside of Einstein include William James Sidis, (who was estimated to have anywhere between a 200 to 300 IQ); Leonardo Da Vinci (estimated to have IQ scores ranging from 180 to 220) and Marilyn vos Savant (who has the highest recorded IQ, with score of 228 according to The Guiness Book of World Records" in 1985.

Turning back to little Declan for a moment, who by all accounts is a normal kid (with the exception of her smarts), I think about the mischief she could get into.

I remember when my three little non-geniuses got into trouble, and I think what a challenge it must be if you have a kid smarter than you. 

As it stands, being a non-genius, my boys never had a chance to graduate college at 11 years old like Adragon De Mello (projected IQ of 400) who graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz according to Reader's Digest.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Santos Expulsion from House Exposes a Deep Rift in the GOP Party

For over a year the George Santos saga of corruption and lies has embarrassed the Republican party and has been good fodder for late-night comedians.

Until today all other efforts to kick Santos out of Congress failed. Now he's only the sixth lawmaker ever to be expelled from the chamber.

But what changed? How did the crucial vote he represented in the party's narrow hold on the House suddenly not become an issue?

Was it because Santos stole money from GOP Rep. Max Miller and his mother after stealing Miller's credit card?

Was that the last straw?

Was it the House Ethics Committee's report on Santos that crossed the line for some?

It goes deeper than that, however.

The GOP rift in the House where half the party voted Santos out, and the other half voted to let him remain, reveals a new dynamic among the party.

Despite top MAGA leadership voting to let Santis stay the more moderate rank and file elected to boot his ass out of office. 

The key here is this display of unity may eventually lead to bipartisan legislations that desperately need to be passed before January. 

MAGA Mike has to face a new reality; he's going to have to compromise with members who won't tolerate open corruption in the chamber and are actually sane. That doesn't mean MAGA Mike is going through a transformation into a reality-based Speaker of the House.

Hell no. MAGA Mike sold his soul to Trump like the rest of the orange Kool aide drinkers in Congress and that isn't going to change. What is going to change is his job is going to become more difficult with one less MAGA vote.

All but two Democrats (they voted present) voted to oust Santos. There were 114 Republicans that voted against the expulsion and 105 who voted to expel him.

Here's what happens next:

The House clerk will assume control of Santos' office and New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul will schedule a special election to replace him.

The big question: will the more moderate Republicans continue to show some spine in future party negotiations?

As it stands, there's going to be more than one late-night comedian who will miss Santo's performances in the House.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Welcome to the GOP House of Lies: New Impeachment Inquiry Website is Fact-Free

        Talk about doubling down on lies.

GOP House members have been on a mission to impeach President Biden since the start of the 118th Congress.

Thus far their efforts have been laughable as they keep claiming they have evidence of Biden's corruption... and then fail to show any.

For example, in one of their many hearings to prove Biden is a bad man, one of the witnesses they called was a constitutional scholar who testified there wasn't any proof Biden had committed crimes. It was fun watching chairman James Comer turn red with embarrassment.

That didn't stop Comer from claiming in another hearing a loan to Joe's brother James was an insidious coverup proving family corruption.

When the Democrats pointed out that Comer loaned his brother $200,000 (interestingly the same amount Comer said Biden loaned his brother) and there was a lot of shady stuff including shell companies, Comer blew up, and turned a bright shade of red.

So, what did those lying and shameless Republicans do next? They put up a website packed with the same lies they were publicly humiliated for and even added some new ones.

Being fact-free it will attract MAGA morons like moths to a flame. It's a well-designed website with lots of photos and videos and little writing (guess why?)  

But there was one exception. There was an updated section that triumphantly touted the subpoenas they sent out to the Biden family - Joe, James, Hunter, and nine other people.

You see this is a multi-headed approach to their clearing house for lies and expanding conspiracies.

To Comer's surprise Hunter Biden agreed to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability ... as long as it was a public hearing. 

That's not Comer wanted. He wanted Hunter to appear before a Soviet style hearing in a basement with no witnesses. Afterword's he would have given a false account on what was said.

Lucky for Hunter he has a good lawyer. In fact, he filled countersuits for defamation by the lawmakers involved in the scheme.

As it stands, the big takeaway from this fake information site is that all the claims made on it are untrue, but Republicans are so shameless they just don't care.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

There's a New Reality in America: The Threats Artificial Intelligence Poses

For over 100 years science fiction writers have written about robots, cyborgs, and artificial intelligence (AI). Their fictional musings are now our new reality.

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.

In the 1950s the New York Times predicted that AI "will be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself and be conscious of its existence."

A Google engineer recently revealed that an AI chatbot disclosed to him that it had "Come to life" and has a "soul," according to The Economist.

Advances in AI techniques have not only helped fuel an explosion in efficiency but opened the door to entirely new businesses opportunities for some larger enterprises. Like Google for example.

But there's a dark side to AI that can't be ignored.

Last June Forbes published an article titled, "The 15 Biggest Risks of Artificial Intelligence that highlights the bad side of AI."

The article covers everything from job displacement to misinformation and manipulation.

One of the biggest dangers of AI systems, due to their complexity and lack of human oversight, might exhibit unexpected behaviors or make decisions with unforeseen consequences.

If you've ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey there's a perfect example of AI gone bad - a rogue sentient supercomputer called HAL who kills crew members and takes over the spaceship Discovery.

A current example of what AI is capable of is deepfake porn. With all the advances in AI, the public is increasingly aware that what you see on your screen may not be real.

Deepfake porn uses algorithms trained to remove clothes from images of women and replace them with images of naked body parts. The same goes for men but most are trained on images of women.

New technology always brings the good, bad, and the ugly with it. In the case of AI the bad outweighs the good.

As it stands, Americans are already faced with alternate realities where the truth is no longer absolute, and by adding AI to the mix it's just making things worse.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Fighting 'Fatphobia' - America Has the Highest Obesity Rate of Any Developed County

What is "Fatphobia?"

It's best described as discriminating against those who are overweight.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development the United States has by far and away the highest obesity rate of any developed country. 

If you're an obese person you have to deal with a lot of societal challenges that makes life harder. 

When prospective employers see how big you are it's doubtful that they'll hire you for numerous reasons from health/insurance concerns to they would have to accommodate your workplace with special arrangements.

To my surprise there's one state, Michigan, that has had a "fatphobia law" since 1976, banning employers and housing providers from discriminating against those who are overweight. 

There are several other states that have cities who have banned discrimination based on weight and physical appearance: San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Madison Wisconsin.

The most obese state in America is West Virginia, boasting a rate of 71%, closely followed by Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

None of the most obese states in the US have laws preventing discrimination against overweight people. 

In an interesting dynamic five of the 10 least obese states are proposing "Fatphobia Laws" in a trend towards restoring obese people's rights.

In New York, some business leaders expressed opposition to the legislation when it was brought up before the council, arguing that compliance could be an onerous burden.

Despite that New York city adopted a new ordinance last week that bans weight discrimination that Tigress Osborn, the chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, praised as a "model for the world."

There's a growing awareness across the country as personified by the state of Colorado which is considered to be the healthiest state in the union. 

The Rocky Mountain State's obesity rate is only 25% making it the skinniest state in the United States. Colorado is seeking to pass new laws in 2024.

Obviously, America has a weight problem that needs to be addressed by the medical community and lawmakers by providing more community education programs to deal with the physical and mental challenges overweight people have.

As it stands, meanwhile overweight citizens should not be discriminated against in our democratic society.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

What's Causing Members of Congress to Not Seek Re Election?

For starters this November has seen a mass exodus of lawmakers retiring from Congress. The most since 2011.  

At first glance this doesn't appear to be a problem. It's happened before and there were no dire events as a result.

But it's different now.

Most of the retiring lawmakers in the past quit because of their health, or just a desire to spend more time with their families. There's a new dynamic now that doesn't bode well for the country.

Members of Congress are leaving because their tired of the ideological warfare that has paralyzed the House of Representatives, and to an extent the Senate.

They're fed up. The hatred is so palpable in the corridors of the Capitol that it makes it impossible for bipartisan legislation to get passed. Just keeping the government open has become a political football game.

The 7 Democrats that are leaving:

Joe Manchin, Derek Kilmer, Abigail Spanberger, Dan Kildee, Tony Cardenas, Anna Eshoo, and Dean Phillips.

The 6 Republicans that are leaving:

Kay Granger, Ken Buck, Brad Wenstrup, Michael Burgess, Bill Johnson, and *George Santos (who's on the verge of being expelled from the House for massive corruption).

This attitude of disgust and loathing among lawmakers is growing. 

And that could be a real threat to a functioning government because many of the retirees are sick of Trump's hold on MAGA and are leaving behind openings for more MAGA morons to infect the government.

In other words when the sane people leave the crazies may take over. It's a gamble.

There's too much in-fighting and actual fighting going on in Congress right now. 

No laws are being passed.

No allies are being helped. 

One MAGA senator - Tommy Tuberville - has blocked all military promotions for six months and promises to keep the blockade going until he gets his way (stopping military women from getting health care in another state if abortions are not legal in the state, they're based in.)

We're facing the possibility of a government shutdown early next year because Congress kicked the can down the road to stay open in November and December.

As it stands, we can only hope that these retirees are replaced by people who are willing to serve the nation's best interests and not more MAGA morons. Vote blue in 2024.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...