Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hotheads’ Violence caused by Hot Climates, Study finds

Dateline: GREENLAND—A sociobiological study from Bigwig University in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland shows that the areas around the world with the hottest temperatures tend to be inhabited by more aggressive, bellicose peoples, or “hotheads,” as the study calls them, while colder zones are home to more peaceful, even timid populations. 

The team of scientists concludes that collective belligerence is a form of literal hot-headedness in which a screaming-hot environment transfers its heat to the human head and turns the mind into a stew of animal reactions, bypassing the brain’s rational faculties and driving the population as a whole to childish displays of wonton irrationality and brutality.

The deserts of the Middle East and Africa, along with Southeast Asia, Central America, Mexico, and the southern (Republican) United States are marked by dictatorships, perennial civil wars, gang wars, coups, chaos, rampant crime, riots, bloody uprisings, bigotry or fundamentalist lunacy. 

By contrast, Canada, Alaska, the northern (Democratic) United States, and Europe are known for being sober, peaceful, and stable to the point of being infamously dull.

“It’s hard to stir up trouble,” said the team’s lead researcher, Professor Francesca Bobbins, “or to get all offended and hot-headed when there’s a foot of snow outside your door or when you know the snow will come in a matter of weeks or months. I mean literally, it’s hard to heat your head enough to sustain animal rage when it’s often super-cold out.

“But just imagine living in a desert that fries and scrambles your brains. How can you stop to think when you’re always stinking and soaking wet with sweat? Haven’t you got to take your rage out on someone, like the government or a rival sect or some other scapegoat? Mustn’t the excess heat that bubbles up in the heads of those dwelling in a humid environment be vented back into the world by some series of violent outbursts to prevent those heads from exploding?”

The researchers tested their hypothesis by observing the facial expressions and by measuring the heat steaming off of the heads of subjects who agreed just to stand for hours in the streets of altogether too-hot places, including San Antonio, Mexico City, Khartoum, Riyadh, and Bangkok. Invariably, the test subjects became increasingly agitated as the sweat streamed down their faces, dampening their shirts and messing up their underwear.

Subjects reported feeling their blood boil when strangers stopped merely to say “Hello” and were unable to concentrate when the researchers posed simple problems to them to determine whether heat negatively affects cognition.

“The sociobiologist asked me, ‘What’s two times four?’ and I swear I blanked,” recalled one test subject. “Back home in Halifax, Canada, I could have answered that with no problem, but standing there in Riyadh in that dreadful heat, my fevered brain was racing from one impulse and nonsensical notion to the next, as if the desert were boiling my neurons. All I could think was: ‘Get me the fuck out of this oppressive heat!’ And failing that, ‘Whom can I take out this aggression on?’” 

As one of the researchers explained, “It’s like the difference between cold and boiling water. When water is very cold it’s frozen and so it tends to stay put, going nowhere; but when it boils, it spills out and bubbles up everywhere from the transfer of energy.”

Critics point out that the experiment was conducted in large cities, which suggests that the aggression may have been caused not by the blazing heat, but by the nearby presence of way too many people, the principle being as Sartre said, that “Hell is other people.”

The researchers replied that there are large cities in peaceful nations too, such as Toronto, Canada. What turns one large population into “placid, mousey little nobodies” and another into “a horde of raging orcs and barbarians” is largely the climate, said Professor Bobbins. “For example, the infusion of Middle Eastern immigrants into France and the UK and the conflicts this has stirred up there can be interpreted thermodynamically. The immigrants’ heads store the excess heat from their native lands and disperse it in the cooler climates of Western Europe. That transfer of heat causes social chaos.”

The report has also been criticized for failing to take into account the counterexample of Australia. Australians are known for being friendly and laid back, and yet much of that continent is as hot as anywhere else on the planet.

The researchers credit this apparent discrepancy to Australia’s British heritage. Like Canada, modern Australia was colonized by the United Kingdom. The team theorized that abundant rain can function like snow in dissuading a population from wanting to go outdoors to kick up a mighty ruckus.

“The rain-soaked temperament of Brits was passed onto Australian culture, making Aussies as tranquil and bloodless as Canadians,” said Professor Bobbins. 

“As for Russia,” she continued, “while it’s true that Russians have historically preferred authoritarian rulers and been as brutal as all get-out, as in their laying waste to the Nazis, it’s notable that the soviets saw their ideology as being especially rational, even scientific. The Nazis, too, looked to science to support their social Darwinian prejudices.

“Temperature is only one factor in determining a population’s passivity or aggression, not the only one,” she conceded. “But while European and North Asian forms of violence are couched in rational or pseudoscientific terms, those forms that break out in scorching-hot zones are chaotic or primitive, showing similarities to the sort of genetic tribalism we see in other species.

“This is because the sweltering heat shuts down the cerebral cortex, leaving mainly the older, emotional and reactionary parts of the brain to steer the ship—and to pick up the pieces when those primitive forms of thinking crash the ship into a cliff.”

The team’s research has also been criticized for being flat-out racist. Professor Bobbins said in response that she “doesn’t care about skin colour. It’s not about innate differences between people, since even an annoyingly-polite Canadian will start to act like a jihadist nut job if he’s forced to live for years in a desert. Like they say in real estate, it’s ‘location, location, location.’”



  2. Canada is destroying the planet.

    -The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere continues to accelerate upwards despite global efforts
    -The last two years had "unprecedented" increases
    -Canadian CO2 extraction is playing an oversized role

    1. Here's a list of countries' greenhouse gas emissions, which include CO2, methane, and various others:

      As a percentage of the global total, Canada is #10. However, if you look at the absolute numbers, half of the countries have zero emissions, because their industries are undeveloped, and only nineteen countries contribute more than 1% each of the world's total emissions. About half of those latter countries contribute less than 2% each, including Canada (1.7%). Emissions really ramp up only with the top five emitters: Russia - 5.4%, India - 5.7%, EU - 10.9%, US - 15.6%, China - 22.7%.

      As you can tell from these data, then, the greenhouse gas problem is caused primarily by China, the US, and the EU. Together, their pollution makes up about 50% of the world's total. The other half of the pollution is spread out thinly across numerous other countries, including Canada.

      The situation is similar if you look at just CO2 emissions:

      As a percentage of the world's total, Canada is 1.7%, China is 22.7%, the US is 15.6%, the EU is 10.9%, and the vast majority of countries contribute less than 1% each. So Canada's emissions are just double those of almost any of the world's other polluters. The US's emissions are 15 times greater than those of almost any of those other countries.

      Your cited article attempts to back up its asinine claim that Canada is playing an "oversized role," by talking about increases in Canadian "extraction" of CO2-producing fossil fuels as well as Canada's mere "planning" of future extractions. Extraction isn't the same as emission. Are Canadians the only consumers of the fossil fuels they extract or does Canada sell those fuels to other countries that actually do the consumption and thus the pollution?

      Canada may be enabling the consumption of fossil fuels, but guess what? Canada is also a world leader in the use of renewable energy:

      Canada is #4, behind China, the US, and Brazil.

      Not that I particularly care about any of this. But if you're going to bash Canada, make sure you do it for the right reasons, such as for the dearth of interesting culture in Canada.

  3. I guess the murder rate in Baltimore MD is considerably higher than Phoenix AZ, because it's so much hotter in Baltimore?

    1. Well, it's not just about murder rates. The factors that would apply most to the US are "bigotry" and "fundamentalist lunacy," as well as planning for bloody uprisings (the militias and end-of-the-world cults in parts of the US, reflected even in Steve Bannon's League of Shadows-like conspiracy theory; see Batman Begins). There you do indeed see differences between the blue and the red states. Not all emotional expressions of hotheadedness need be violent.

      Of course, I say these factors only "would" apply, because this article is satirical rather than a genuine piece of scientific theorizing.

      Interestingly, though, Maryland voted for Hillary Clinton, while Arizona voted for Trump. So perhaps while Arizonans aren't causing record-levels of chaos directly, due to the extreme heat in that part of the country, they're doing so indirectly by voting for and supporting the obvious psycho-clown, to vent the irrationality caused by living in a desert.

    2. That psycho clowns election was aided by AI.