Thursday, January 19, 2006

Biological Differences Between the Sexes Always Make Men Look Bad
It's a pretty firm rule. Feminists lose it when it is suggested that more men are interested in science than women, but do you imagine that any of them will object to the International Herald Tribune article that says revenge is unique to men? Doubtful.

Which is strange, considering the study doesn't necessarily even prove such a claim. Here's what they did:

In the study, published online Wednesday by Nature, subjects witnessed people whom they perceived as wrongdoers getting zapped by a mild electrical shock. When male subjects saw this, their MRI scans lit up in primitive brain areas associated with reward; the brain's empathy centers remained dull.

Women subjects watching the punishment, in contrast, showed no response in centers associated with pleasure. Even though they also said they did not like the wrongdoers, their empathy centers quietly glowed when the shocks were administered.
The problem is, this tests only one kind of revenge: revenge on behalf of someone else. The punished are perceived as wrongdoers, not known as such. To say it differently, the person being punished had not wronged the person undergoing the test.

"Women are not, by nature, violent creatures." I could accept that hypothesis, though I don't know that it's been proven. But I have seen women react violently, and with an urgent desire for revenge. Ever watched middle school-aged girls? Ever seen one wrong another? If so, then you know that revenge will be taken, and enjoyed, when it is least suspected. The best example, however, is the "momma bear" instinct. Just try hurting some mother's child, or even just insulting them. You will see in that woman an immediate desire for vengeance.

And this experiment in no way tested how men and women react to wrongdoers when the victims of the wrongdoer are the test subjects themselves, or someone close to them.

But don't hesitate to publish a study that makes men look bad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Interesting—but not for the reasons you might expect
The AP reports that Senator Ted Kennedy has severed ties with a Harvard club that excludes women, mere days after he attacked Supreme Court nominee Alito for membership in a club that opposed the inclusion of women at Princeton.

If you know me, you know that I think both actions are wrong on Kennedy's part—Alito had every right to belong to the Princeton club, if he honestly thought that accepting women at Princeton would be bad for the school, and Kennedy has every right to be a member of an all-male social club if he so chooses. But that's not the point I want to address.

The article also says:

"While we are glad Ted Kennedy has decided to get on the equality bandwagon, it's laughable given that his revelation comes less than a week after his hypocritical attacks on Judge Alito," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said Tuesday.
So what's so special about that? Nothing really. But I have a small complaint. A spokesperson for the RNC (or the DNC for that matter) should show more respect for their opposition. No matter what you think of Kennedy personally, he remains a (relatively senior) Senator of the United States, and deserves to be recognized as such. He should not be referred to by anyone in any official capacity as "Ted Kennedy," unless said person happens to be one of his drinking buddies (of whom I'm sure there are many). Bloggers, opinion journalists, comedians—fine, call him what you like. But other Senators, other government officials, and spokespersons for national parties should refer to him as Senator Kennedy.

The military has a saying: "Salute the rank, not the man." In this case, Ms. Schmitt should remember that she is addressing the office of the Senator from Massachusetts, not just the man, and respect the title he posesses.

Didn't expect that one, now did you?

It's a bit windy out there
The New York area is currently being hit with some majorly heavy winds. My house sounded like it was rattling apart this morning; the NYC streets are full of people holding inside-out umbrellas; my building is creaking so much that I feel like I'm in the hold of a 15th century sailing ship; and my personal favorite:

Metro North says a downed tree at 170th Street in the Bronx is blocking all traffic on Harlem and New Haven Lines into and out of Grand Central Station.
I ride the New Haven Line every day. So how did I get here? I had to come in 2.5 hours early today. If I hadn't, I'd probably be stuck at home right now.


Oh, and just so you know: it's nothing like the picture I used above—I just couldn't figure out another way to represent wind.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm back
You can see the evidence here, and regular posting should resume today, barring any serious emergencies. I have an RTM committee meeting tonight, so blogging will likely remain light, but everything should gradually return to normal.

Thanks for the patience!

Monday, January 16, 2006

24 Premiere
The 24 season premiere began last night, and continues tonight. Stay with Blogs4Bauer for all of your discussion, anal analysis, and live-blogging needs.

I'll be liveblogging tonight's 2-hour episode—and judging by the excitement that we saw last night, it should be an event to remember.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yada yada yada
Nobody cares (I haven't looked at my site statistics in a while, but I'm probably getting around 2 hits a week by now), but I've obviously fallen off the face of the earth. This time it's not because of work, however. Fortunately for me, my girlfriend has been visiting, and I've been too busy to post. I hope you can forgive me.

Regular posting will resume after the season premiere of 24 is over, either Monday night or at some time on Tuesday. I hope those of you who might be checking to see if I'm still alive will come back then.