30 August 2013

Refuting the "Big Car = Safe" Myth

It is a universally known "fact" that the bigger the vehicle you drive, the safer you are.
Even those who buy small vehicles know this, they just feel that the increase in risk is small, and the benefits to parking, mileage, and cost are worth it.
Like many other universally known things, it just happens to be wrong.
This is extremely easy to prove:  just look at the actual crash statistics, compiled by vehicle weight:

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28 August 2013

Refuting the theory that physiologically facilitating rape is "self-protective"

I've been surprised to come across more and more references lately to a relatively new theory among some sex researchers that the reason women reflexively lubricate to certain stimuli which they don't self-report as being arousing is that it evolved as the body's way of protecting itself in the case of sexual assault.
Here is an example:

Genital response to sexual stimuli may be an evolved self-protection mechanism. Female genital response is an automatic reflex that is elicited by sexual stimuli and produces vaginal lubrication, even if the woman does not subjectively feel sexually aroused...Female genital response entails increased genital vasocongestion, necessary for the production of vaginal lubrication, and can, in turn, reduce discomfort and the possibility of injury during vaginal penetration. Ancestral women who did not show an automatic vaginal response to sexual cues may have been more likely to experience injuries that resulted in illness, infertility, or even death subsequent to unexpected or unwanted vaginal penetration, and thus would be less likely to have passed on this trait to their offspring....Reports of women's genital response and orgasm during sexual assaults suggests that genital responses do occur in women under conditions of sexual threat.

The first time I saw it it immediately struck me as suspect and I questioned it in the comments of the webpage that quoted it, and went on to forget it.  But since then I've seen several more allusions to the same theory by different researchers in different contexts, and its really starting to bug me.
As I talked about in great length in my previous post, there is a nearly universal - albeit frequently subconscious - assumption in human society that women are inherently prone to being victims.  This (largely baseless) assumption is just as strong among feminists as it is among traditionalists and patriarchs, although it takes different forms.

04 August 2013

"Culture" and "Race" are not interchangeable

Take a look at the following 10 people, one at a time

Think about who they are.
What do they likely do for work?  How much do they make?  What do they enjoy doing on their off time?  What would you guess their religion is, what kind of food do they eat, where did they grow up, and how do they vote?  Who do they socialize with, and what inspires their morality?

01 August 2013

7% of communication is words (not really though)

Just discovered what the ridiculous claim about non-verbal communication probably comes from - you know, where some corporate or academic class on effective communication claims that only 7% of a message is transmitted by the actual words (and the rest by tone and body language)?

This is of course just obviously false on the face of it: if it were true, we could communicate more effectively with someone who spoke a different language but was face-to-face with us than we could with someone who spoke the same language, but via chat (or a blog post).

But those numbers are very specific to just have been randomly made up...
Here's where they come from:

According to pychcology professor Albert Mehrabian:

When you first meet new people, their initial impression of you will be based 55% on your appearance and body-language, 38% on your style of speaking and only 7% on what you actually say.
Now that actually makes sense! Not message. Not communication. Impression.

Furthermore, he was speaking specifically about communication about feelings, and the degree to which a person's non-verbal communication matched the verbal - as in, if a person says "I'm fine, really", but they look and sound upset, you are likely to not believe them.

In his own words, regarding this common misinterpretation of his work:
""Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable."