Monthly Archives: May 2012

Medics Cut Legs Off Live Goats for Training

Video here.

This video is pretty messed up. As part of their training, Army medics at a base in North Carolina saw the legs off of live goats. The goats are anesthetized, but they are not completely asleep. You can see some of the goats moving around, while others make moaning noises while their legs are getting chopped off. The medics laugh and joke while they dismember the live animals.

The Army claims this training is necessary in order to train medics for the rigors of the battlefield, but others say it’s not necessary at all. Animal rights groups are angry about this practice and want it stopped.

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Filed under Animals, Domestic, Goats, Gross, Medicine

Geese Tortured to Death to Make Foie Gras

Video here.

Here is a new video, very sickening, showing geese being fed Foie Gras until they die. Very gross! Basically, geese are force-fed until they are very overweight and then they die. Their livers get very swollen from this death process and this is what you eat as Foie Gras. I am glad they are starting to outlaw this delicacy.

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Filed under Animals, Birds, Domestic, Gross, Sick, Sick and Evil

Portrait of a Bad Neighbor

There was a neighbor who lived near me who has since moved. This person was basically a criminal. The extent to which they were sociopathic, I am not certain, because I have a heard time differentiating between sociopathic criminals and nonsociopathic criminals. This woman was about 30 years old and and lived with her Mexican boyfriend, who looked like s decent enough guy.

She looked like a fat, homely, low class White woman, but I am told that instead she was some sort of White Mexican type. She was the mother, apparently, of a blond girl about 10-12 years old, unhappy, disturbed and ill-behaved. The girl was friends with a Mexican girl across the way about 12 years old.

Together they used to gang up on me and torment me. I started fighting back at them at some point and started insulting them,flipping them off and calling them names.

At one point, the blond girl ran to get her parents. The parents came around and I was very angry. I put my mind into “serial killer mode” and came outside belligerent and armed with a metal coffee thermos which I wielded as a weapon. The woman, the girl and the boyfriend quickly backed away as I swung the thermos around menacingly and berated them.

An argument ensued in which the mother said I should not have insulted the daughter because “She’s just a child!” Then the girl started crying and the boyfriend said let’s go back inside. Later I got into it more with the girls. They would flip me off, and in return, I would insultingly blow kisses at them and then flip them off.

The girls reported this to the parents deviously as me “flirting with them.” I never flirted with them. I didn’t want to have sex with them; I wanted to kill them – they were my little enemies. Somehow this got back to the manager that I was “flirting the little girls,” and I had to go to the manager and clear it up.

Just giving this to you to show you the epidemic of devious kids (often age 10-13) who are deliberately making false child molesting claims against adults nowadays to get back at them.

I cleared it up and we agreed that it was best not to say anything to them at all, since if they don’t like you, anything you say can be used as a “molesting” accusation.

Later my neighbor told me about a horrible incident that occurred late at night outside his home. David and Teresa had been taking care of a couple of the young cats that live around here via feeding them. These are more or less wild cats, but some are fairly tame, including one of these.

David sold pot, and the mother of the blond girl was mad about that because they thought he got his pot from a Norteno. He doesn’t get his pot from a Norteno, but no matter.

The blond girl’s mother is just sort of Sureno veterano, leader or shot-caller type. These are older types who use younger gang members as foot soldiers. They are higher up in the gang and usually don’t do much dirty work anymore, sort of like officers in the army.

To get back at David, the blond girl’s Mom apparently told some younger Sureno gang members to capture the two cats that hung out at David’s and kill them in a horrible way. David woke up the next morning, and the cats were dead in his tree. One had been eviscerated and another had been decapitated. Apparently young teenage Surenos had done these dirty deeds. We don’t think the older woman had it in her to do that.

Also the screen on his 3 year old daughter’s window had been slashed as a threat to his daughter.

David then told me some more very weird stuff about the blond girl and her mother. He said residents had long suspected, but could not prove, that the mother had been pimping out the daughter to older men for sex.

She said one night they heard her crying, “But I don’t want to go with them!” Then they put her out on the porch as punishment and she stayed out there crying and yelling for a long time in the middle of the night. Put a 12 year old girl on the front porch at 3 AM and locked her out of the house. Another time they heard her screaming, “Tell them to stop! Tell them to stop!”

David said the girl came to his door once and asked him for sex. She offered to give him a blowjob or a handjob for $1. David told her to get lost. Every time she saw me, she always asked, “Do you have a dollar? It seems probable that she might have been being abused if she was going around asking men for sex for money.

Another time, I saw her walking with a 19 year old Black, one of the real ghetto Blacks around here. He had a huge grin on his face. I wondered what this ghetto Black was doing walking with this little girl. After David told me, I figured she was giving him sex. David also said that the Mexican guy was not the girl’s father. Instead the father was some White guy. He had supposedly molested the blond girl and was now in prison for it.

The blond girl, her Mom and the Mom’s boyfriend lived with another White woman with red hair, about 28 years old. Her relationship with them was not known. I knew all of them, and both of the women hated me and would not talk to to me. They were both well known around here and were well liked in the neighborhood. The red haired woman had to have known about the nefarious goings on with the blond girl’s Mom.

Later I called the cops are reported the girl’s Mom for possibly pimping out the girl. The female cop at the other end acted like it was all a big hassle, like I was making it all up, and like I was the criminal and not the woman. She was almost putting me on trial by calling to report the crime. I was reminded about why I hate reporting stuff to the cops.

The blond girl’s Mom is clearly an antisocial type. So is the red haired woman. But no one suspects them of anything. They look sort of trashy, but they don’t look weird or crazy. They’re pretty much normal for the neighborhood. But look at what they do. They murdered two young cats via horrible torture, threatened a 3 year old girl and were pimping out a woman’s 12 year old daughter to older men for sex.

People think that those who do stuff like that are weirdos, crazy people, freaks or nuts with wild looking eyes, “psychos,” creeps, creepers or whatever. Instead most of the people who do things are just trashy antisocial types who do not look weird or crazy in any way and fit in well with low class neighborhoods. And it’s not always a man doing something sick or awful. Women can do it too.

Most crime is not done by obvious creepers or weirdos. Instead it is done by run of the mill sociopathic or antisocial types who appear quite normal on the surface. I don’t know why people find that so hard to understand.

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Filed under Crime, Psychology

Fala, A Galician-Portuguese Language of Spain

Three videos showcase Fala, a Galician-Portuguese language spoken in the Xalima Valley in Spain in Caceres near the Portuguese border. All evidence indicates that this is a dialect of Galician from a movement of Galicians to the area in the 1300’s.

Subsequently, the group became isolated from the rest of the Galician population and the lect underwent independent development, especially strong influence from Asturian-Leonese in the form of the Extremaduran language. So we have an archaic Galician dialect with strong Extremaduran influence. Presently, Castillian speakers say they are completely lost listening to this language.

Portuguese speakers fare better, but intelligibility is not full even for them. However, there is full intelligibility with the Galician language spoken in the northwest of Spain.

Oddly enough, about 95% of the residents of this rustic valley continue to speak this language, from elders all the way down to young children. Everyone is bilingual in Castillian, which is learned in school. Castillian is used with outsiders; Fala is used with residents among themselves.

Recent attempts were made to adopt the Galician standard for writing Fala but these were rejected by Fala speakers as the Galician standard is not close to what they speak. As far as what protection Fala has, this is uncertain. Certainly it is not an official language of Spain as Galician is, and it is probably not included in the Galician as official standard.

The first video is a very well done documentary on the language. If you cover up the subtitles, it’s almost impossible to make sense of what they are speaking.

In the second video, there are no subtitles, and the language is quite incomprehensible. The narrator appears to be speaking Fala, but he may be speaking a more watered down version of it. I could understand some of what he was saying but certainly not all of it. The Castillian man he interviews is much more intelligible.

The last video is apparently of two Fala-speaking women who are being interviewed. They are apparently responding in Fala. The first time I watched this video I was lost. I have since watched it a few more times, and I can now pick up some of what she is saying. Notice that the language has a strong Portuguese flavor. I am not sure what language the narrator is speaking to them in. Possibly Castillian?

The narrator somehow seems to understand them although he is not a Fala speaker. He says he is a speaker of Bierzo Leonese spoken in the Bierzo region of Leon near the Galician border. This Leonese lect borders on a Galician dialect (Berciano) spoken to the west in the same province.

Bierzo Leonese has strong Galician influence, and Berciano Galician has heavy Leonese influence. Berciano Galician is doing quite well, but Bierzo Leonese is not doing so well, as is the case with the Leonese language across the board.

If you speak Spanish, Portuguese or both, see how well you can understand Fala.

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Filed under Europe, Galician, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Leonese, Linguistics, Portuguese, Regional, Romance, Spain, Spanish

Gay Rights in Cuba

Here.

Anti-Communist rightwingers, almost all of them homophobes who are opposed to gay rights, have always blasted Cuba for its persecution of gays. In the past there was some truth to this, no matter how hypocritical the imperialist dog Yankees were about the charge.

The truth is that Cuba has a very macho culture that hates male homosexuality. This machisimo culture is similar to Latin cultures all over Latin America. Gays were indeed persecuted early in the Revolution because the state believed that homosexuality was a symptom of bourgeois decadence that had no place in a socialist society. They got this view from the Soviet view of homosexuality which was current at the time.

This view evolved over time as it became clear that males at least do not choose their sexual orientation at all. Cuba was also blasted for quarantining AIDS patients. But Cuba has one of the lowest AIDS rates on Earth at .1% and this is in an area (the Caribbean) that has an AIDS rate that is quite high. The AIDS rate in the US to the contrary is about 10 times higher than the Cuban rate.

In recent years there have been major strides in gay rights for Cubans. Sex change operations are now offered for free by the state. This goes beyond the rights respected in the US. Castro’s daughter has been one of the major players in urging respect for sexual minorities. There are still some hurdles to be crossed – for instance, gay men are often arrested for public display of affection – but keep in mind that this is a machisimo Latin society that largely holds male homosexuality in extreme contempt.

Nevertheless, at the moment, gays rights in Cuba are positive compared to rest of the Latin American region. Keep in mind that in the rest of Latin America, especially Colombia and Brazil, gays are frequently murdered on the streets in “social cleanup” campaigns. In other areas, including forward thinking Argentina, gays are routinely arrested and beaten by police simply out of prejudice. This is the sort of typical treatment that is meted out across the region.

The extreme homophobia of Latin American machos has the positive side effect of keeping situational male homosexuality among non-gay men at a very low level due to the fears of and taboos against this sort of behavior. This is good because once those taboos come off, very large numbers of young, single non-gay boys and men begin to engage in gay sex as an outlet due to the paucity of sex offered up by young single women.

Epidemic situational male homosexuality is definitely a bad side effect of a nation that opens up to the full gay rights agenda.

Good but long article knocks down a lot anti-Cuba crap peddled by anti-Communist dogs.

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Filed under Americas, Caribbean, Cuba, Culture, Gender Studies, Government, Health, History, Homosexuality, Illness, Latin America, Left, Man World, Modern, Public Health, Regional, Revolution, Sex, The Americas

How Should We Talk to Young Children to Help Them Learn Lanugage?

A couple of articles on the subject here and here.

The first article is not precisely relevant. It states that in order to help children learn academic language that they will be using in primary school, it is important to start using academic language with them when they are 3-6 years old. This seems obvious, but there is a related point not discussed here that it doesn’t particularly matter how you speak to kids. They pick up language one way or the other no matter how you talk to them.

The second article is more interesting for our thesis. It says that “motherese” is very important in helping kids to help learn language. It’s long been known that mothers and other caretakers adjust their speech when dealing with young children ion a way that has been called “motherese.”

The study quoted offered no proof for its conclusion that motherese helped kids learn language better since there was no control group with no motherese exposure. All the study noted was that mothers and other caregivers tended to adjust their speech in a motherese direction when they were speaking to kids. The researchers then decided based on this observation that motherese was important in helping kids learn language.

However, the truth is quite a bit different. Studies have shown that there are cultures who think kids are idiots until they learn to speak. Children are thought to be stupid, so typically they are not addressed much at all. When they are addressed, people speak to them in the same unadjusted way that they speak to adults.

Kids in these cultures learn language just as well as anywhere else, apparently mostly from just listening to the adults talking around them. The lack of motherese, and indeed the lack of much direct input at all, did not seem to hamper them.

This is because children have a natural ability to learn language called a Critical Period.

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The Critical Period Hypothesis in Linguistics

Evidence is increasing that children are born with a natural facility to pick up language of any type. The Critical Period hypothesis is very controversial in Linguistics, but it seems to be true as any person on the street might tell you based on sheer logic, intuition and observation.

The Critical Period begins to close after age 7. After that, it is hard to get full native speaker competence in the language. It closes almost completely between the ages of 14-18. It may get worse after age 18. I worked with Hmong English language learners. Hmong do not enroll their older members in these classes because the Hmong believe that after age 40, it’s too late to learn a foreign language. There may be something to this folk wisdom.

The Critical Period may be thought of as a window for language learning.

It is akin to a window for sight that is present in a species of blind cave fish. If the fish is exposed to light before a certain age, the fish will develop sight. After that age, if you expose the fish to light, it will be too late for it to see and it will remain blind. It is as if a window opens in the fishes’ brain.

The window asks the question, “Is there light here?” and looks for a Yes or No answer. If the answer is Yes, then the area of the brain is given over to sight and the fish can see.

If the answer is No, then the window is left open for a bit looking for light to see by. If there is no light present over this period of time, the brain assumes that there is no light in this environment, and therefore, it’s a waste of brain space to leave this area open to vision when there is nothing to see. So the window closes and the part of the brain given to vision is shut down for vision and opened up to be used for other things.

Keep in mind that if you leave the vision area open your whole life in a dark environment, that part of the brain is wasted when it could be used for other tasks. It makes more sense to shut down the vision part of the brain and open it up to some other use.

In the same way, a window opens up in humans asking, “Is there any language in this environment?” Answer Yes or No.

If  Yes, the window stays open for a period early in life long enough to learn language, then it begins to shut down as language has already been learned and there’s no need to keep the window open anymore, so it is shut down and the part of the brain that is used for learning language is apparently given over to other things.

If the answer is “No, there is no language in this world”, then there is no need to keep the window open your whole life looking for something that is not even there. So the window begins to shut down after age 7, and that part of the brain is simply shut down for language and given over to other things. Research has shown that deaf people given cochlear implants at say age 32, when then were able to hear, were still not able to develop native speaker competence in language.

Other evidence comes from pidgins and creoles.

A pidgin is a language that develops when speakers of various languages are thrown together, usually as immigrants to a new place  where they are all working together. Hawaii is a famous case as Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Hawaiians, etc. were all thrown together as workers on sugar cane plantations around 100 years ago. Since none of them could understand each other and they needed to communicate to each other in the fields, a pidgin based on all of the languages spoken develops.

The pidgin is a language invented by adults whose language window has effectively shut down, and hence it is not a fully developed language and is impoverished in many ways.

The pidgin is then spoken to the children to pidgin speakers. The young children hear the pidgin, and using their language window, expand upon it somehow and miraculously create a full language out of it with all of the features of a fully developed and complete language, as good as English, German or any other. A creole is a real language, not a fake language or half language. So in this sense, children are vastly more intelligent than their elders!

In the field of Linguistics, the Critical Period is very controversial, though the evidence for its existence is overwhelming. This is because linguists are in the business of teaching foreign languages often to folks who are older than 7 years old and even more often to those over 18 years old. They don’t want to believe that their students will never reach full native speaker competence in the language they are learning. This would be a blow to their language teacher egos.

So in ESL classes, you spend many hours learning all these bullshit theories about why kids learn language so well and adults not so well. All of these are crap environmental and psychological theories that have nothing to do with the facts at hand, notably the Critical Period.

In the larger sense,  as a social science, they are opposed to any genetic or neurological explanations for anything at all, and they want to believe that everything is environmental. So we get into the Nature Nurture debate once again and enter into the realm of Physics Envy.

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Physics Envy in the Social Sciences: What Is It?

That obvious facts can be glossed over for years if not decades in favor of environmentally based bullshit theory that is more palatable to Social Science liberals is one reason that rational people say that the Social Sciences have “physics envy.” That is, there is not a lot of science going on in the social sciences.

There is a lot more propaganda, lies and crap, mostly coming from a Left point of view. Theory in these places is designed more to uphold a Left view of the world and humanity and make them feel good about their Left views than it is about anything scientific.

It’s called Physics Envy because in the hard sciences you either prove something or you don’t. Sure they fight a bit when paradigms are overturned, but eventually they come around.

In the social sciences, it seems that nothing can ever be proven true or not true. Everything is more or less up in the air forever. Social scientists argue, idiotically, that this is necessarily the case since humans are endlessly variable. This endless variability makes it impossible to logically study them due to lack of controls, intervening variables and what not.

Bottom line is we can never really prove or disprove anything about humans scientifically in the social sciences. Everything is this sort of mushy up in the air grab bag of whatnot and what have you and this that or the other. Nothing is true, and nothing is not true either. We live 9 months in the dark, are born into darkness, walk in the dark forever, and then we die back into darkness yet again.

Not only is this pessimistic in terms of our own abilities to uncover truths about ourselves, it’s ultimately a cop out. We don’t want to reach conclusions about hard and fast truths and human beings because we are afraid of what the answers might be.

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Filed under Left, Liberalism, Political Science, Science, Social Problems

The Portuguese Language in Spain

Very interesting documentary about a variety of Galician-Portuguese lects spoken in Spain along the border with Portugal.

The first lect is Oliventino, spoken in the town of Olivenza in Bajadoz near the Portuguese border. It is an archaic Alentejan Portuguese dialect that dates back from 1801, when Portugal lost control of the area to Spain. Portugal continues to claim the town, but Spain won’t give it back. In the interim, Oliventino has been heavily influenced by Extremaduran Spanish. Standard Portuguese speakers are typically lost with Oliventino.

The language is now spoken by those older than 60 years old and is apparently not being passed on to children. There are few to no young speakers.

In Alcantara in Caceres and Bajadoz, several archaic Portuguese lects are spoken. They are close to Alentejan Portuguese. If they are close to Alentejan, then they may be difficult to understand for Portuguese speakers, as many Portuguese find the hard Alentejan lect difficult to follow.

In Herrera de Alcántara in Caceres, an ancient Portuguese from the 1200’s called Firrerenho is spoken. This area was made part of what is now Spain in 1297. Intelligibility with Portuguese is unknown.

In Cedillo and Valencia de Alcántara in Caceres, an archaic Portuguese dialect from the 1700’s called Cedilhero is spoken. Cedilhero is spoken here because Portuguese colonists were the first people to settle in the region at that time. Cedilhero is close to Alentejan Portuguese. The youngest speakers are in their 60’s. It may be difficult to understand for Portuguese speakers.

In the Xalima Valley in the towns of San Martín de Trevejo, Eljas and Valverde del Fresno, Fala is still spoken by almost all inhabitants. This is an Galician dialect that has been influenced by the Castillian and Extremaduran languages. Apparently the Galician settlers moved to the region long ago, got cut off from the rest of Galicia, and the lect underwent independent development. It’s fully intelligible with Galician, however, for some reason, the Fala speakers got subtitles in this documentary for Galician-language TV. It is probably not fully intelligible with Portuguese either.

A Portuguese lect is spoken in Almedilha in Salamanca Province. Little is known about this lect.

In the town of Calabor in Zamora, a Galician dialect with heavy Castillian and especially Senabrese Leonese influences is spoken. Little is known about this lect.

Map of the various lects is here.

If you speak Portuguese or Spanish, you might want to listen to these speakers and see if you can understand them. It’s better to cover up the subtitles though because that will help you understand better. Covering up the subtitles, I understood very little of what these folks were saying. But I only speak Spanish fairly well, and I don’t speak Portuguese at all, though I can read it a bit since I have studied it.

This video shows us that to some extent, categories like “Spanish” and “Portuguese” are more political than linguistic categories, since with a lot of these lects, it is hard to tell where one language ends or the other begins. It is also hard to put some of these lects into linguistic categories like “Spanish” or “Portuguese.”

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Filed under Comparitive, Europe, European, Galician, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Classification, Language Families, Leonese, Linguistics, Portugal, Portuguese, Regional, Romance, Sociolinguistics, Spain, Spanish

Check Out Isleno Spanish

It will take some time for me to describe the history of this language. The Wikipedia article here is a good start.

The Islenos apparently arrived in from the Canary Islands to Louisiana and eastern Texas in the 1700’s. Over time, they were augmented by other Spanish immigrants from many other parts of Spain speaking a variety of languages including Catalan, Andalusian and Galician. In addition, over time there was a lot of interaction with the French speakers of Louisiana, so many French words went into the language. Somehow some Portuguese also went in. A huge amount of English vocabulary and even grammar has gone into the language, especially with the last generation of speakers. The Islenos retained their archaic Canarian Spanish from the 18th Century, speaking it as a first language up until the 1940’s due to the isolation of its main speech community on St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans. However, roads were built to the parish and in 1915, schools arrived. Repeated hurricanes caused Islenos to flee to New Orleans. A number of them served in World War 2 and Vietnam. The present generation of Isleno first language speakers are all over 60 years old. A few Islenos under 50 speak the language, and more can understand it but not speak it.

Islenos originally started out ranching cattle, but then they moved into planting sugar cane and growing a variety of crops for the New Orleans market. In the last century, many Islenos made their living by fishing, shrimping, crabbing, etc.

A group of them moved to San Antonio, Texas, where they fought in the Alamo and took part in other battles in the Texan War of Independence. Isleno Spanish died in San Antonio around 1950, but Islenos still maintain the culture there in other ways.

They still play songs called decimas and they continue to fix traditional Canarian dishes.

There is another dialect spoken by Islenos in Valenzuela, Louisiana called Brulis. However, this is mostly an Acadian French dialect. Another group of Islenos in Galveztown speak a dialect that is basically Mexican Indian Nahuatl of all things.

It is said that this accent is quite similar to Puerto Rican and Cuban Spanish. Many Cubans and Puerto Ricans also came from the Canary Islands around the same time, and Cuban and Louisiana Canarians used to trade with each other a long time ago.

If any of my readers can understand Spanish, I would be curious if you can understand this interesting rustic Spanish lect. I can understand Spanish fairly well, but I had a hard time with a lot of this speech, though some of it did sound something like Cuban Spanish. If you speak Spanish, let us know if you can understand these guys.

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