Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Atheists Are the Most Mistrusted Group: They Are Evil and Immoral!


Obama was a big mistake! More and more people realize this everyday


from The Essential Read by Gad Saad, Ph.D.
Some of you might remember Mr. Obama’s inauguration speech wherein he made an explicit reference to non-believers. Apparently, this was the first instance where an incoming American president has formally recognized the existence of this group of Americans (which incidentally includes the great majority of intellectuals, scientists, and philosophers). Does this imply that atheists are now largely accepted within the greater American society? Are they respected for their non-belief in imaginary narratives of invisible deities? Regrettably, the answer is an emphatic no!

In a recent article published in the American Sociological Review, Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerteis, and Douglas Hartmann reported their findings, on how atheists are perceived, based on data from a national survey. To the question, “This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society,” ten groups were listed as options: religious groups (Muslims, conservative Christians, Jews), racial groups (Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, and White Americans), homosexuals, recent immigrants, and atheists. By far, the most “detested” group were the atheists. To the question, “I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group,” eight of the latter groups were included (homosexuals and recent immigrants were excluded). Again, the least desired group were the atheists. This might be one of the saddest scientific findings that I have ever read.

Hey, Francis Crick, James Watson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Linus Pauling, Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Ivan Pavlov, Carl Sagan, Oliver Sacks, Steven Weinberg, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Jacque Monod, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Popper, Emile Durkheim, and Herbert Simon: You are all unfit to date my daughter. Yes, you are all great scientists, philosophers, and literary giants. It is indeed true that many of you are Nobel laureates. However, you are eliminated from contention, as you are all godless atheists. Sorry I cannot trust Satan’s helpers with my daughter. I would much prefer an unemployed man who has otherwise accepted the Lord in his heart. Should the classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) be remade, the “shocking” guest will no longer be a highly accomplished, educated, and sophisticated black man (Sidney Poitier) but a highly accomplished, educated, and sophisticated atheist.

Think about it for a moment. Suppose that we had an extraordinarily accomplished would-be President who proclaimed her atheism. Let us assume that this person is a great orator; a righteous person with great personal integrity; a speaker of four languages; and a Nobel laureate. If she were to declare that she does not believe in the existence of a “celestial dictator” (to borrow the term from the remarkable Christopher Hitchens), she would be automatically deemed unfit to serve in political office and/or to date your son. Nobel Prize, Schmobel Prize. If she does not believe in one of the fairy tales (even though these conflict and contradict one another), she is not to be trusted, as Satan undoubtedly possesses her. She is probably immoral and evil. Let us exorcise the demon spirits out of her. Let us pray for her lost soul as a means of hopefully averting her from burning in the eternal fires of hell. You might have detected my sarcasm here however this dreadful set of reactions is rooted in an all-too-common anti-atheist reality.

Frankly, it is both sad and astonishing that in the 21st century, the populace of the most advanced civilization in history can still hold such backward views. The greatest intellectual framework that the human intellect has ever generated is the scientific method. On so many levels, it has freed us from the shackles of barbaric, divisive, and infantile superstition. Yet, all presidential candidates parade their faiths (even the closeted atheist Obama) as though it were a virtue to believe in virgin births, burning bushes, and flying horses.


The Aggregator That Newspapers Like


Newspapers are getting better and better at the online business and will find an edge to win their niche back. The industry has found a new medium and the old is threatened but the principles of operation are the same. The change process is inevitable and media will find ways to beat the new technology and stay alive.


August 3, 2009 · Filed Under Business Bytes
While some media organizations have objected to aggregation and even fought it legally, others are embracing it, and one company that is working closely with media organizations is Daylife, which powers aggregation for USA Today, The Washington Post, NPR and the New York Post. And now the company is looking outside news organizations.
The New York Observer reports:
Daylife is also transitioning its focus from traditional media companies to brands and advertisers. Every organization seems to need an online presence that keeps up with thereal-time Web. Hiring a blogger to write a few posts isn’t enough anymore (or perhaps not in the budget).

Whether a sports brand is looking for bios on baseball players or a pet store needs the latest articles on puppy nutrition, Daylife plans to be the go-to data aggregator for hire.

5 Ways to Connect with Customers and Buyers


This is good for some of us but the advice is general and heard again.

I’d like to point out a business owner who is living much of the advice I’m writing in this column relating to sales and marketing. Tina Hill of Kidzsack is a mom-preneur and inventor, and she’s using many different ways to connect with customers as well as buyers.

Previously Hill was a fashion designer, and after time out of the workforce, she was inspired to create Kidzsack because her kids needed a product like it. She also wanted an outlet for her creativity. Hill created Kidzsack, an “eco-friendly backpack and a craft project for kids.”

In order to sell her product, Tina has to reach business owners and merchandisers. She’s taken to doing much of her own promotion and marketing herself in different ways from online to the phone to in-person networking. Using Tina as a model, here are 5 ways (plus a bonus way) you can promote your start up business more effectively – and obtain sales in the process.

Connect online
One of Hill’s key tools is LinkedIn. When she got an order from a Zoo, she went on LinkedIn and connected to the rep, and then worked creating a relationship. Recently she sent him a message, and he bought a new order of products. Hill also sells to resorts, so she joined several resort professionals discussion groups. There she found and connected to resort buyers, which directly led to sales. When gave Kidzsack a “Best Vacation Product Award” Hill put up a press release under the news topic in several of her groups. Buyers got right back to her. Her advice: “Use Groups and reach out to members as a way to find buyers who wouldn’t know the product otherwise.”

Find Writers and Bloggers interested in Your Industry
To help promote her product to end customers, Hill often reaches out directly to Bloggers who cover kid products. Hill told me “A lot of people read blogs and they shouldn’t be underestimated…one person reads it and then tells two people who then tell three…and so on.” Clearly she understands the power of social sharing, and how blogs and other online platforms encourage readers to share content, which can lead to sales.
Another good place to find writers? Watch the “Help a Reporter” list. I sourced this article via that list.

Pick up the phone
Tina said “Cold Calling is old fashioned but it’s still the No. 1 way I’ve been getting my sales. People still like dealing with people directly and developing a relationship on the phone and not just by e-mail. E-mail is great for follow ups but I always make an initial first call.” I ran that by the “Queen of Cold Calling” Wendy Weiss and she agreed. “Cold calling works. The number one mistake that most cold callers make is to not prepare effectively for their calls. It’s a myth to say that cold calling is a numbers game–it’s not. Cold calling is a preparation, strategy and skills game.”

Find people in person
So often, we know someone who knows someone who can help us, but we don’t work our network effectively. Tina sent an email to hundreds of friends and contacts asking for help getting her on TV. “Talk with your friends because everyone knows someone. I reached out to friends and asked ‘Who knows someone on TV’? A really good friend knew an anchor on CBS, and they used Kidzsack for their’EcoFriendly must-have products.’ “

Have an Effective Website
Hill’s website has everything that’s needed to find out more about her product, and she says people look at it first, before they contact her. While it is a good site, I’ll take a writer’s prerogative to suggest a few improvements. The “Where to Find Us” tab on the site is trying to be 3 pages in one. It is acting as the “News” page for the site, the “Where to Buy” for retail, and the “How to Contact a Sales Rep” page, and in doing so it is too busy. Tina would be better off having a “Where to Find Us” page that is for consumers, segmented by State and then Town so it is a bit easier to find the product. The other items deserve their own pages too, so News could show on the “About” page. There also should be a clear link on the home page for wholesale buyers to contact Kidzsack.

Use Online Sites to get Business Support
In addition to reading this column (Thanks) Tina uses small business owner and because “they give tips, have discussions, and help in every way possible. I have made friends on these social networks that have helped me with leads as well as product liability insurance advice (reducing my costs significantly).” Mommy Millionaire got her four or five good friends from the website, and they’ve helped her shape her business. There are community sites like these for many industries. Use your search engine to find one and become involved.

The science of romance: Brains have a love circuit


WASHINGTON – Like any young woman in love, Bianca Acevedo has exchanged valentine hearts with her fiance. But the New York neuroscientist knows better. The source of love is in the head, not the heart. She’s one of the researchers in a relatively new field focused on explaining the biology of romantic love. And the unpoetic explanation is that love mostly can be understood through brain images, hormones and genetics.

That seems to be the case for the newly in love, the long in love and the brokenhearted.

“It has a biological basis. We know some of the key players,” said Larry Young of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. There, he studies the brains of an unusual monogamous rodent to get a better clue about what goes on in the minds of people in love.

In humans, there are four tiny areas of the brain that some researchers say form a circuit of love. Acevedo, who works at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is part of a team that has isolated those regions with the unromantic names of ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum and raphe nucleus.

The hot spot is the teardrop-shaped VTA. When people newly in love were put in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their beloved, the VTA lit up. Same for people still madly in love after 20 years.

The VTA is part of a key reward system in the brain.

“These are cells that make dopamine and send it to different brain regions,” said Helen Fisher, a researcher and professor at Rutgers University. “This part of the system becomes activated because you’re trying to win life’s greatest prize — a mating partner.”

One of the research findings isn’t so complimentary: Love works chemically in the brain like a drug addiction.

“Romantic love is an addiction; a wonderful addiction when it is going well, a horrible one when it is going poorly,” Fisher said. “People kill for love. They die for love.”

The connection to addiction “sounds terrible,” Acevedo acknowledged. “Love is supposed to be something wonderful and grand, but it has its reasons. The reason I think is to keep us together.”

But sometimes love doesn’t keep us together. So the scientists studied the brains of the recently heartbroken and found additional activity in the nucleus accumbens, which is even more strongly associated with addiction.

“The brokenhearted show more evidence of what I’ll call craving,” said Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist also at Einstein medical college. “Similar to craving the drug cocaine.”

The team’s most recent brain scans were aimed at people married about 20 years who say they are still holding hands, lovey-dovey as newlyweds, a group that is a minority of married people. In these men and women, two more areas of the brain lit up, along with the VTA: the ventral pallidum and raphe nucleus.

The ventral pallidum is associated with attachment and hormones that decrease stress; the raphe nucleus pumps out serotonin, which “gives you a sense of calm,” Fisher said.

Those areas produce “a feeling of nothing wrong. It’s a lower-level happiness and it’s certainly rewarding,” Brown said.

The scientists say they study the brain in love just to understand how it works, as well as for more potentially practical uses.

The research could eventually lead to pills based on the brain hormones which, with therapy, might help troubled relationships, although there are ethical issues, Young said. His bonding research is primarily part of a larger effort aimed at understanding and possibly treating social-interaction conditions such as autism. And Fisher is studying brain chemistry that could explain why certain people are attracted to each other. She’s using it as part of a popular Internet matchmaking service for which she is the scientific adviser.

While the recent brain research is promising, University of Hawaii psychology professor Elaine Hatfield cautions that too much can be made of these studies alone. She said they need to be meshed with other work from traditional psychologists.Brain researchers are limited because there is only so much they can do to humans without hurting them. That’s where the prairie vole — a chubby, short-tailed mouselike creature — comes in handy. Only 5 percent of mammals more or less bond for life, but prairie voles do, Young said.Scientists studied voles to figure out what makes bonding possible. In females, the key bonding hormone is oxytocin, also produced in both voles and humans during childbirth, Young said. When scientists blocked oxytocin receptors, the female prairie voles didn’t bond.In males, it’s vasopressin. Young put vasopressin receptors into the brains of meadow voles — a promiscuous cousin of the prairie voles — and “those guys who should never, ever bond with a female, bonded with a female.”Researchers also uncovered a genetic variation in a few male prairie voles that are not monogamous — and found it in some human males, too.Those men with the variation ranked lower on an emotional bonding scale, reported more marital problems, and their wives had more concerns about their level of attachment, said Hasse Walum, a biology researcher in Sweden. It was a small but noticeable difference, Walum said.Scientists figure they now know better how to keep those love circuits lit and the chemicals flowing.Young said that romantic love theoretically can be simulated with chemicals, but “if you really want, you know, to get the relationship spark back, then engage in the behavior that stimulates the release of these molecules and allow them to stimulate the emotions,” he said. That would be hugging, kissing, intimate contact.”My wife tells me that flowers work as well. I don’t know for sure,” Young said. “As a scientist it’s hard to see how it stimulates the circuits, but I do know they seem to have an effect. And the absence of them seems to have an effect as well.”