Things That Matter

Trump Won’t Shut Up About Acing A Cognitive Test, But Just How Difficult Is The Test?

Looking back at my days back in school, I remember plenty of kids who bragged about their IQ results or how they’re smarter than everyone else. They wanted everyone to know they were a genius and that they had the hard data to prove it. I don’t remember ever taking an IQ test and I was always skeptical of those kids who said they were. I mean who’s parents had the time to be dragging their kids off to tests that in reality mean very little?

So when Trump claimed in an interview this week that he “aced” a “very hard” cognitive test, I couldn’t help but look back at my high school days. But I also wondered, “How hard could this mysterious cognitive test really be?”

Well, here’s a hint: it’s ridiculously easy.

Trump says he aced a cognitive test but what exactly does that mean?

On Fox News Sunday, in an interview with Chris Wallace, President Trump bragged about acing a test that proves just how incredible and smart he is. There’s only one issue – it’s not an IQ test and it’s not meant to be difficult unless you suffer from a cognitive disability.

Also, once again Trump blatantly lied about the test and what it is. He said he “answered all 35 questions correctly” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which actually has just 30 questions. That means the president was giving himself credit for filling out the top five lines of the test: his name, education, sex, date of birth and the current date.

Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise from a president who has uttered more than 20,000 falsehoods or mischaracterized claims since taking office. Though with this particular case, it’s more likely that he’s misrepresenting about how hard they were, in order to look “smarter” than Joe Biden.

The claim came during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace – which was full of other interesting tidbits.

Not even including the whole cognitive test topic, Trump’s Sunday interview with Fox News was a doozy. Chris Wallace – the only slightly less bias anchors at the network – didn’t give Trump the softball interview that he was probably expecting.

Wallace challenged Trump on everything from his poor performance in polls regarding the November election – including one from Fox News itself – to his poor handling to the Coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality.

So what is this test Trump claims to have done so well at?

The test is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and was created by the neurologist Dr Ziad Nasreddine in 1996. The test was created to help diagnose cognitive difficuties in those experiencing some form of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Therefore, if you’re not suffering from either of those conditions then the test is literally meant to be easy.

Talking to MarketWatch, the test’s creator stressed that the test “is supposed to be easy for someone who has no cognitive impairment.” He also added that this is not an IQ test and has no bearing on how skilled a person is. Sorry to break it to you Donald.

However, Trump is right about the start of the test being very easy. But when it comes to the last five questions, his claim that they’re “very hard” is unsettling (although not surprising) in what it reveals about his relationship with reality.

Here are a few examples of questions on the test, how well can you do?

Lets start off right where the test starts off: with these simple activities meant to demonstrate your cognitive abilities. It’s not challenging at all, unless, of course, you’re suffering from a cognitive disability.

The first question involved drawing a line between numbers and their equivalent letters (1 to A, A to 2, 2 to B and so on). Then you have to draw a cube, and a clock at 10 past 11. I will say it took me a minute to understand exactly what I had to do here – blame it on not seeing an actual clock in probably years – but once I realized what I needed to do, it was done in a few seconds. Didn’t require no bigly geniusness to get it done.

This is supposedly the hardest part – according to Trump.

In Trump’s interview with Wallace, the president bets Wallace that he “couldn’t even answer the last five questions” of the test. But for a mentally healthy person, the last five questions should be as simple as the rest.

The fifth-to-last question on the test asks you to repeat a sentence out loud, before naming as many words as you can starting with F. In the following “abstraction” section, you have to spot the similarity between different objects such as trains and bicycles (modes of transport), or a watch and a ruler (measuring devices).

Next, you have to recall the random words that were included in the earlier memory section. This may be the part that’s easiest to trip over. And finally, for the orientation part of the test, you have to … say what the date is.

The now infamous elephant question.

If you’re lucky enough to not have any cognitive impairment, this part is also easy. There are three drawings – a lion, rhino and camel. As mentioned, there are a few versions of the test with very minor differences – for example, the test Fox News showed during the interview had an elephant on it (you can see it here), but the latest test has a rhino instead.

If you’re interested in trying out more questions of the test, you can find the full version here.

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Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

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Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

Handout / Getty Images

Update Jan. 10, 2020

The second day of Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment is highlighting the rhetoric that led to the horrific insurrection on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan 6. House impeachment managers have laid out a timeline linking Trump and his words to the attack. U.S. Virgin Island Delegate Stacey Plaskett made it all real clear.

The second day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial brought to light more violence.

Rep. Joe Neguse highlighted a threat that come from an affidavit highlighting a selfie video. The video was recorded by Dawn Bancroft and threatened direct violence against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain, but we didn’t find her,” Bancroft said in the video, according to the affidavit.

The impeachment managers really drove home the point that Trump’s attempt to overturn the election laid the groundwork for the coup.

The Trump campaign spent months trying to overturn the election with numerous lawsuits in key swing states. All of the lawsuits were thrown out but that didn’t stop Trump and his campaign from pushing rhetoric that cast doubt on the democratic process. The focus weighed heavily on Michigan.

“Think about it. The President of the United States was calling public officials, calling from the White House, inviting them into the Oval Office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of her state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people,” Rep. Madeleine Dean, a House impeachment manager, said on the Senate floor. “All to take the election for himself.”

Stacey Plaskett caught everyone’s attention with her cape and recalling the Texas highway tape.

There is a lot of talk on Twitter from women celebrating Plaskett for wearing a cape to defend democracy. The first-ever delegate to be a House impeachment manager recalled the video of vehicles with Trump flags trying to run a Biden/Harris bus off the road in Texas.

Trump and other Republicans celebrated the caravan of vehicles that tried to run the Biden/Harris bus off the road. It was a moment in American political history that showed the worst of American voters. Trump tweeted the video the following day saying “I LOVE TEXAS!”

Plaskett took the hand of everyone watching her speak and led them from the Texas highway incident right to the Capitol attack.

Plaskett did not hold back and showed how the attack was coordinated and anything but a secret. The U.S. Virgin Islands representative laid out the path from the caravan to the people who orchestrated the violent attack aiming to overturn a free and fair election.

She also highlighted how the Trump administration was not in the dark about the planned attack. According to Plaskett, the Trump administration was monitoring websites where the attack was being planned. The day before, the FBI sent a warning of a credible threat from extremists in the U.S. Yet, the Trump administration did nothing to stop the attack.

“They posted exact blueprints of the attack openly, loudly, proudly – and they did this all over public forums,” Plaskett said during her remarks. “These were not just hidden posts and dark websites that Trump would not have seen. Quite the opposite. We know President Trump monitored these websites. We know this because his advisers confirm it.”

Original: Former President Donald Trump is making history as the only president in American history to be impeached for a second time. This time, the Senate, with Democrats in the majority, is bringing a full trial against the former president. The historic impeachment started with a startling video of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump started with a chilling video of the insurrection.

The 13-minute video shows the terrifying scene at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and includes parts of the former president’s speech that day during his Stop the Steal rally. The parts of the speech include him calling for the riled-up crowd to march down to the Capitol building while members of Congress were certifying the Electoral College votes.

The video shows Trump supporters fighting with police and causing complete pandemonium. The video is hard to watch and paints a picture of the Jan. 6 insurrection that Americans might not have seen. Using various videos, the impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, created a montage of violent imagery with rioters calling for death of Congress members, destruction of the Capitol, and the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

After the video, Rep. Raskin spoke about what it was like for him to survive the violent siege on the Capitol building. The representative’s son committed suicide one week before the attack and his daughter and son-in-law were with him in the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Like many people in the building during the violent attack, they believed they were going to die.

The opening video has struck a chord with Americans watching.

The insurrection stunned Americans when it happened. Images of elected officials running from the chambers to avoid violence and the threat of death circulated on social media. The impeachment video showed elected officials having to drop to the floor for fear that the terrorists would break through the House and Senate doors.

“People died that day. Officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. People’s eyes were gouged. An officer had a heart attack. An officer lost three fingers that day.,” Rep. Raskin said through tears after showing the video. “Two officers have taken their own lives. Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”

This is a historic impeachment trial as there has never been a president impeached twice.

Republican Congress members are determined to acquit Trump calling into question the constitutionality of the impeachment trial. Democrats are holding the line and demanding that he be held accountable for inciting the insurrection. Republicans and Trump’s attorneys claim that Democrats have no basis for the impeachment.

The impeachment trial is ongoing and we will update as the process continues.

READ: As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

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China Is Using Anal Swabs To Test For COVID-19 – Could This Be The Future Of Testing?

Things That Matter

China Is Using Anal Swabs To Test For COVID-19 – Could This Be The Future Of Testing?

STR/AFP via Getty Images

Although the Coronavirus pandemic originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan at the end of 2019 – and the country was hit hard by the outbreak – China seemed to successfully get a handle on the health crisis quicker than most countries. However, that tide seems to be shifting as the country struggles with one of its largest COVID-19 outbreaks yet.

It could be argued that Chinese citizens also endured some of the most draconian measures meant to curb the virus’ spread: entire cities were placed under strict lockdowns, drones were used to enforce curfews, entire communities were forced into testing centers.

But now they face a new indignity: the addition of anal swabs.

China rolls out rectal testing to help stop a spike in new infections.

Chinese officials have introduced the new protocol and it’s been met with widespread discussion and some outrage. Some Chinese doctors say the science is there. Recovering patients, they say, have continued to test positive through samples from the lower digestive tract days after nasal and throat swabs came back negative.

An anal swab test means inserting a cotton-tipped swab about 3-5cm (1-2 inches) into the rectum, which is then sent to a lab to be tested for the virus. They are analyzed in the same way as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) coronavirus tests taken from the nose or throat.

“If we add anal swab testing, it can raise our rate of identifying infected patients,” Li Tongzeng, an infectious-disease specialist at Beijing You’an Hospital, said on state-run broadcaster China Central Television Sunday. 

Yet for many, the anal tests seems to be a step too far.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has been willing to take draconian measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, even at enormous inconvenience to its population. In the early days of lockdowns, health officials sometimes sealed apartment buildings to keep people from leaving. Millions were rounded up for overnight flash-testing drives, with people forming lines in the streets in darkness.

Even Chinese doctors who support the new tests said the method’s inconvenience meant it made sense for use only in select groups, such as at quarantine centers.

“Everyone involved will be so embarrassed,” one user in Guang­dong province said Wednesday on ­Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. In a Weibo poll, 80 percent of respondents said they “could not accept” the invasive method.

Thanks to this dummy, you can get a look for yourself.

The healthcare worker dips the swab in a saline solution – standard practice for this methodology – and then inserts the cotton-end into the rectum. The swab is inserted an inch or so to get the best results, and then gives it a nice little twist for good measure before pulling out and putting it in a plastic sample tube.

The new testing guideline comes just over a year after the virus began spreading rapidly in the country.

It’s been more than a year since the virus started circulating widely in China. The country has seen ups and downs in its battle against the pandemic with the situation right now being among the worst.

However, officials are further worried about the upcoming Lunar New Year, often called the world’s largest annual migration. Some 3 billion trips are made over the holiday during a non-pandemic year, which means even a single silent coronavirus case could rapidly leapfrog across the nation.

For its part, China is hoping to vaccinate 50 million people before the holiday period begins, but that’s only 4% of the population, far too low a rate to prevent mass transmission.

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