Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 2017

Thought length

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I recall reading that Walter Lippmann, after decades of writing his NY Times column, said that he found that he tended to have 750-word thoughts.

It occurs to me that Trump has 140-character thoughts.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 6:13 pm

What a real president would have said about Mueller’s indictments

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The Washington Post editorial board points out:

HERE IS how President Trump responded to the news that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has brought charges against Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Mr. Manafort’s deputy and a foreign policy aide on Mr. Trump’s campaign:

Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????? . . . Also, there is NO COLLUSION!

Here is what a presidential president might have said:

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 6:11 pm

So: A Dolph Lundren movie, “Ambushed” is quite good (surprisingly)

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Dolph Lundgren usually plays one-dimensional characters in one-dimensional movies, but in Ambushed (on Netlfix), although he is pretty one-dimensional, the plot and characters are in fact interesting. Worth watching, I’d say.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

What Experts Know About Men Who Rape

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Heather Murphy reports in the NY Times:

In 1976, a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University placed a rather unusual personal ad in newspapers throughout Los Angeles:

ARE YOU A RAPIST?

Researcher interviewing anonymously by phone to protect your identity. Call 213-…  9-9pm.

He sat by his phone, skeptical that it would ring. “I didn’t think that anyone would want to respond,” said Samuel D. Smithyman, now 72 and a clinical psychologist in South Carolina.

But the phone did ring. Nearly 200 times.

At the other end of the line were a computer programmer who had raped his “sort of girlfriend,” a painter who had raped his acquaintance’s wife, and a school custodian who described 10 to 15 rapes as a means of getting even with “rich bastards” in Beverly Hills.

By the end of the summer, Dr. Smithyman had completed 50 interviews, which became the foundation for his dissertation: “The Undetected Rapist.” What was particularly surprising to him was how normal these men sounded and how diverse their backgrounds were. He concluded that few generalizations could be made.

Over the past few weeks, women across the world have recounted tales of harassment and sexual assault by posting anecdotes to social media with the hashtag #MeToo. Even just focusing on the second category, the biographies of the accused are so varied that they seem to support Dr. Smithyman’s observation.

But more recent research suggests that there are some commonalities. In the decades since his paper, scientists have been gradually filling out a picture of men who commit sexual assaults.

The most pronounced similarities have little to do with the traditional demographic categories, like race, class and marital status. Rather, other kinds of patterns have emerged: these men begin early, studies find. They may associate with others who also commit sexual violence. They usually deny that they have raped women even as they admit to nonconsensual sex.

Clarifying these and other patterns, many researchers say, is the most realistic path toward curtailing behaviors that cause so much pain.

“If you don’t really understand perpetrators, you’re never going to understand sexual violence,” said Sherry Hamby, editor of the journal Psychology of Violence. That may seem obvious, but she said she receives “10 papers on victims” for every one on perpetrators.

This may be partly connected to a tendency to consider sexual assault a women’s issue even though men usually commit the crime. But finding the right subjects also has complicated the research.

Early studies relied heavily on convicted rapists. This skewed the data, said Neil Malamuth, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been studying sexual aggression for decades.

Men in prison are often “generalists,” he said: “They would steal your television, your watch, your car. And sometimes they steal sex.”

But men who commit sexual assault, and are not imprisoned because they got away with it, are often “specialists.” There is a strong chance that this is their primary criminal transgression.

More recent studies tend to rely on anonymous surveys of college students and other communities, which come with legal language assuring subjects their answers cannot be used against them. The studies avoid using terms such as “rape” and “sexual assault.”

Instead, they ask subjects highly specific questions about their actions and tactics. The focus of most sexual aggression research is acknowledged nonconsensual sexual behavior. In questionnaires and in follow-up interviews, subjects are surprisingly open about ignoring consent.

Men who rape tend to start young, in high school or the first couple of years of college, likely crossing a line with someone they know, the research suggests.

Some of these men commit one or two sexual assaults and then stop. Others — no one can yet say what portion — maintain this behavior or even pick up the pace.

Antonia Abbey, a social psychologist at Wayne State University, has found that young men who expressed remorse were less likely to offend the following year, while those who blamed their victim were more likely to do it again.

One repeat offender put it this way: “I felt I was repaying her for sexually arousing me.”

There is a heated debate among experts about whether there is a point at which sexual assault becomes an entrenched behavior and what percentage of assaults are committed by serial predators.

Most researchers agree that the line between the occasional and frequent offender is not so clear. The recent work of Kevin Swartout, a professor of psychology and public health at Georgia State University, suggests that low-frequency offenders are more common on college campuses than previously thought.

“It’s a matter of degree, more like dosage,” said Mary P. Koss, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona, who is credited with coining the term “date rape.”

Dosage of what? Certain factors — researchers call them “risk factors” while acknowledging that these men are nonetheless responsible for their actions — have an outsize presence among those who commit sexual assaults.

Heavy drinking, perceived pressure to have sex, a belief in “rape myths” — such as the idea that no means yes — are all risk factors among men who have committed sexual assault. A peer group that uses hostile language to describe women is another one.

Yet there also seem to be personal attributes that have a mediating effect on these factors. Men who are highly aroused by rape porn — another risk factor — are less likely to attempt sexual assault if they score highly on measures of empathy, Dr. Malamuth has found.

Narcissism seems to work in the other direction, magnifying odds that men will commit sexual assault and rape.

What about the idea that rape is about power over women? Some experts feel that research into hostile attitudes toward women supports this idea.

In general, however, researchers say motives are varied and difficult to quantify.

Dr. Malamuth has noticed that repeat offenders often . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 4:44 pm

Botched police raid roundup

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Radley Balko has a little list in the Washington Post. Here are some of the items:

The latest in the world of botched police raids:

  • A Toledo, Ohio, man says the city’s SWAT team got the wrong house when it raided his home and killed his two dogs on Saturday. The police reportedly found a single pill . . . for high blood pressure. On Monday, local media said the SWAT team paid a visit to a children’s hospital dressed as superheroes including Captain America.
  • The Southaven, Miss., police department still refuses to release the names of the police officers who shot and killed Ismael Lopez in July. The officers shot Lopez after raiding the wrong address in search of a man suspected of assault.
  • In Georgia, an investigator for the Clayton County district attorney’s office went to the wrong house to serve a subpoena, then shot a dog at that house in the head. The investigator claims the dog was attacking him, but neighbors dispute his account of the incident.
  • In somewhat surprising news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied qualified immunity to the Pearl, Miss., police who raided the wrong house during a drug sting. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 4:00 pm

Timelapse video of Devil’s Fingers growing

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Explanation here.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 11:22 am

Posted in Science, Video

Easy video intro to neural networks

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Part 1:

Part 2:

And also:

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2017 at 9:30 am

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