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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Links - 21st September 2018 (1)

Forget About Income Inequality - "if Grusky wants to measure market-generated income inequality, household income is not the proper metric; individual income is. That’s because market rewards—paychecks, capital gains, and dividends—go to individuals, not households. Gini coefficients, which measure inequality, decreased slightly for individuals between 1994 and 2010, while showing a modest uptick for households, meaning that individuals became more equal and households less so... Many progressives paraded the October Congressional Budget Office finding that between 1979 and 2007 after-tax income of the top 1 percent of households grew 275 percent. They failed to mention that the same study also found a 65 percent income gain in households in the top quintile; for those in the 21st through 80th range, 40 percent; and the bottom quintile, 18 percent. In short, no group lost ground... As economist Tyler Cowen has described, the difference between the basic goods available to average Americans and mega-rich folks such as Bill Gates has steadily decreased. Gates might have personal jets and private gardens. But thanks to technology-driven productivity increases and lowered trade barriers, almost every American can afford bypass surgeries, laptops with Internet access, cars, TVs, and occasional air travel. What’s more, America remains a highly income-mobile society where poverty is a stage of life, not a way of life. There is no permanent underclass here. A study by Thomas Garrett of the St. Louis Federal Reserve recently found that between 1996 and 2005—nine short years—roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile moved up to a higher one."

The places that ‘don’t exist’ - "He frequents conflict zones, lonely ice roads in Siberia and unrecognized breakaway republics, places that he says, “don’t exist”. His passion is bringing together like-minded travellers at his “Extreme Travel Congresses” in places like Chechnya and Somalia. For him, life is “just perfect” when he’s in an obscure place."

How do you survive in the coldest place on Earth? - "In Siberia, the winter temperature can drop to -60C, making it one of the coldest places to live in the world. In the first of our series on extremes, Adam Mynott finds out how the people of Oymyakon district cope with everyday life under such extraordinary conditions."

Blacks in Power Don't Empower Blacks - "Since 1965, the number of black elected officials has exploded. Between 1970 and 2012, it grew from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.” One would expect that such political gains would lead to economic prosperity for African Americans, but not so says Riley. Actually, as black political influence has grown, African Americans have actually lost ground economically. This is what happens when our leaders assume identity politics provides the pathway to progress... “A strong case can be made that to the extent that a social program, however well-meaning, interferes with a group’s self-development, it does more harm than good. Government policies that discourage marriage and undermine the work ethic—open-ended welfare benefits, for example—help keep poor people poor.”"
This also suggests that some of the key arguments for quotas are wrong

Terry Gilliam on diversity: 'I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian' - "“It made me cry: the idea that ... no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented... this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian... My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.” He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.” Gilliam follows fellow Python member John Cleese’s angry response to Allen’s comment, who tweeted: “Unfair! We were remarkably diverse FOR OUR TIME ... We had three grammar-school boys, one a poof, and Gilliam, though not actually black, was a Yank. And NO slave-owners.” Gilliam has previously attracted controversy for his comments on the MeToo campaign, likening it to “mob rule” and saying: “ It’s crazy how simplified things are becoming.”"
Many "comedians" nowadays are just SJWs so they would disagree. But it remains to be seen if they'll stand the test of time like Monty Python

Does religion shape people’s sense of humour? A comparative study of humour appreciation among members of different religions and nonbelievers - "Hindus demonstrate overall the highest humour appreciation among all the groups, while Christians were the least amused by the jokes presented on the survey. Muslims had overall robust humour responses, despite reporting the highest incidence of being offended. Atheists were the least likely to be offended, and they generally enjoyed irreverent jokes. All groups agreed that if a joke was seen as offensive, its funniness was reduced."

'Nature' Says We Need More Diverse Scientists To Improve Science. They Present No Scientific Evidence To Back It Up. - "How much of that disparity is due to discrimination, how much of it is due to social background, and how much of it is due to choice? Why, that’s just the sort of question you might expect Nature to ask, given that it is a journal of science! But nope. No such question is asked. Instead, we are to assume that it is merely sociological barriers that create disparities"

Our Idea of Healthy Eating Excludes Other Cultures, and That's a Problem - "There’s more than one (Eurocentric) way to eat a healthy diet."
The traditional Indian diet is one reason for India's diabetes epidemic
Traditional white people food is also unhealthy. They've just made healthy variants
White people food is neutral - just like one of the reasons English is Singapore's working language rather than Mandarin, Malay or Tamil

Brain scans suggest women sustain more damage heading soccer balls than men - "regions of damaged brain tissue were five times bigger in female soccer players than in male players"

Roofer fined £300 for carrying sandwich wrappers and crisp packets in his van - "Waltham Forest Council workers told Mr Gosling he was breaking the law for carrying the rubbish without permission when they carried out spot checks in east London... They searched his vehicle before asking him if he had a waste carriers' licence, which are required by any business that transports commercial refuse... "The waste in this case was being transported in commercial refuse bag in the trader's vehicle. "Regardless of what the items are, if waste is being stored in a commercial refuse bag in a trader's van it is necessary that they have a valid waste carriers' license.""

Canadian sex worker turned to fake marriage to pursue cosplay dreams - "Wong subsequently offered 1 million yen to Sasaki to engage in a fake marriage so that she could obtain residency. An initial payment of 700,000 yen was to be followed by monthly installments of 30,000 yen each. In February, an investigation was launched after the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau received an anonymous tip. The results of the investigation revealed that Wong, who is currently employed in the fuzoku (commercial sex) trade, is not living a life of matrimony with Sasaki."

How men pay more than DOUBLE the price for some toiletries than women
So much for the "pink tax". It's almost as if companies make product and pricing decisions based on market characteristics

How to Make Friends, According to Science - "The average American trusts only 10 to 20 people. Moreover, that number may be shrinking: From 1985 to 2004, the average number of confidants that people reported having decreased from three to two. This is both sad and consequential, because people who have strong social relationships tend to live longer than those who don’t... don’t dismiss the humble acquaintance. Even interacting with people with whom one has weak social ties has a meaningful influence on well-being. Beyond that, building deeper friendships may be largely a matter of putting in time. A recent study out of the University of Kansas found that it takes about 50 hours of socializing to go from acquaintance to casual friend, an additional 40 hours to become a “real” friend, and a total of 200 hours to become a close friend. If that sounds like too much effort, reviving dormant social ties can be especially rewarding. Reconnected friends can quickly recapture much of the trust they previously built, while offering each other a dash of novelty drawn from whatever they’ve been up to in the meantime. And if all else fails, you could start randomly confiding in people you don’t know that well in hopes of letting the tail wag the relational dog. Self-disclosure makes us more likable, and as a bonus, we are more inclined to like those to whom we have bared our soul"

'Crazy Rich Asians': How the Asian Rom-Com Happened Without Netflix - "Kwan fielded pitches that included turning his heroine into a
white woman; "It's a pity you don't have a white character," he was told by one producer... there was a bit of backlash in some corners of the internet (the Malaysian-English actor is biracial, while Nick is Chinese-Singaporean).“What is the level of Asian-ness you need to be to be profiled as Asian?”
Isn't it more diverse to have one non-Asian main character than none? What about the whole spiel about desexualised Asian men?

Study Finds Adopted Children Do Worse In School, Despite Having Better Parents - "Being adopted can be one of the best things to happen to a kid. People who adopt tend to be wealthier than other parents, both because of self-selection and because of the adoption screening process. Adoptive parents tend to be better-educated and put more effort into raising their kids, as measured by things like eating family meals together, providing the child with books, and getting involved in their schools. And yet, as rated by their teachers and tests, adopted children tend to have worse behavioral and academic outcomes in kindergarten and first grade than birth children do"

Could You Have a Lithium Deficiency? - "Scientists first figured out lithium could help stabilize mood in bipolar disorder in the late 1800s when the mineral salt was also used to treat gout. Lithium was the original "up" ingredient in 7-UP soda... To this day, lithium is one of the few medications proven to decrease the risk of suicide... lithium has been shown to be the only effective drug (at least to slow the progression down) in another inflammatory, progressive, and invariably fatal neurotoxic disease, ALS, which is also known as Lou Gerhig's disease, and lithium is being studied in HIV, dementia and Alzheimer's disease... counties with higher lithium levels in the water had a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of homicide, suicide, arrests for opiates and cocaine, and violent criminal behavior. Now to put things into perspective, a high lithium water content translates to about 2mg of lithium a day. Pharmacologic psychiatric doses typically start at 300mg daily... human longevity increased with the amount of trace lithium in the water"

Medicine doesn’t come from the hardware store: Don’t drink turpentine – Science-Based Medicine - "If you reassure someone that they don’t have an infection that requires antibiotics, they’re generally pretty happy. But when you explain that “detox” is a marketing term, and there is no need to waste money on a “detox” kit, sometimes it only seemed to reinforce the belief that supplements were useful. Several times I was presented with a prescription, and a simultaneous request for a supplement recommendation as a substitute for the drug, based on the belief that supplements are as effective as and safer than prescription drugs. I’d explain that following a heart attack, and considering quality, safety, and efficacy, that red yeast rice was a poor substitute for a statin. Some would feel otherwise. Many had a very negative perception about the risk and benefits of prescription drugs, with the opposite perception about the merits of various “alternative” remedies."

People who don't drink any alcohol are more likely to develop dementia, suggests study - "People who are teetotal in middle age are at greater risk of developing dementia than those who drink moderate amounts, with benefits particularly apparent in wine drinkers, a new study has found... Among abstainers, the study also found increased risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease... Moderate alcohol consumption has previously been shown to help protect against these conditions, by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and it may be this which is responsible for the dementia protecting benefit."

How Cloudflare Uses Lava Lamps to Guard Against Hackers - "Anything that the camera captures gets incorporated into the randomness"

Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not - "Followers of Shinto, unlike Judeo-Christian monotheists and the Greeks before them, do not believe that humans are particularly “special.” Instead, there are spirits in everything, rather like the Force in Star Wars. Nature doesn’t belong to us, we belong to Nature, and spirits live in everything, including rocks, tools, homes, and even empty spaces... Friends express concern when I make a connection between slaves and robots that I may have the effect of dehumanizing slaves or the descendants of slaves, thus exacerbating an already tense and advanced war of words and symbols. While fighting the dehumanization of minorities and underprivileged people is important and something I spend a great deal of effort on, focusing strictly on the rights of humans and not the rights of the environment, the animals, and even of things like robots, is one of the things that has gotten us in this awful mess with the environment in the first place. In the long run, maybe it’s not so much about humanizing or dehumanizing, but rather a problem of creating a privileged class—humans—that we use to arbitrarily justify ignoring, oppressing, and exploiting."
Robots rights activists are already here

The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain—And Almost Lost His Mind - "It will be a long time before anyone starts sending fully formed thoughts to a computer, he says—and even longer before anyone finds it really useful. Think about speech-recognition software, which has been around for decades, Schalk says. “It was probably 80 percent accurate in 1980 or something, and 80 percent is a pretty remarkable achievement in terms of engineering. But it’s useless in the real world,” he says. “I still don’t use Siri, because it’s not good enough.” In the meantime, there are far simpler and more functional ways to help people who have trouble speaking. If a patient can move a finger, he can type out messages in Morse code. If a patient can move her eyes, she can use eye-tracking software on a smartphone. “These devices are dirt cheap,” Schalk says. “Now you want to replace one of these with a $100,000 brain implant and get something that’s a little better than chance?”"

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Links - 20th September 2018 (2)

How a Fille du Roi Brought the 'Mother's Curse' to Canada - "So well-documented is French Canadian genealogy that professional geneticists and demographers use the data for research, too. Whenever a small group of people leave a large population (France) to found a new one (New France), they bring with them a particular set of mutations. Some of these mutations will by chance be more common in the new population and others less so. As a result, some rare genetic disorders disproportionately impact French Canadians."

Starbucks and the Swimming Pool - "I don’t deny that racism exists. Nor do any of the black people (or most of the white ones) who question the modern orthodoxy on “white privilege,” racial preferences, and reparations. What we question is what that kind of racism—subconscious, residual, and passing—affects. For example, I can say quite honestly that neither of those incidents affected me in the least... Life is never perfect, and there are much grosser imperfections in mine than petty misinterpretations by people I’ll never see again... Black American public school students at Dunbar High in Washington, DC in Gaslight Era America, in the wake of Plessy v. Ferguson, in a country in which lynching was legal, were regularly trouncing white students on standardized tests—and we know what would have happened to any of them if they had even ventured near a white café or pool. Or—if racist encounters so conclusively stanch black initiative and mental acuity that we cannot be expected to do well on tests, then why does no one expect us not to do well as, say, musicians? Coltrane and Questlove have known their microaggressions quite well, thank you very much... A key part of dignity is resilience; another part is the ability to distinguish the passing from the fundamental... I think it infantilizes black people to be taught that microaggressions, and even ones a tad more macro, hold us back, permanently damage our psychology, or render us exempt from genuine competition"
Of course this black writer will just be called an Uncle Tom

For years, this popular test measured anyone’s racial bias. But it might not work after all. - "When I first took the implicit association test a few years ago, I was happy with my results: The test found that I had no automatic preference against white or black people. According to this test, I was a person free of racism, even at the subconscious level. I took the IAT again a few days later. This time, I wasn’t so happy with my results: It turns out I had a slight automatic preference for white people. According to this, I was a little racist at the subconscious level — against black people. Then I took the test again later on. This time, my results genuinely surprised me: It found once again that I had a slight automatic preference — only now it was in favor of black people. I was racist, but against white people, according to the test... According to a growing body of research and the researchers who created the test and maintain it at the Project Implicit website, the IAT is not good for predicting individual biases based on just one test. It requires a collection — an aggregate — of tests before it can really make any sort of conclusions... the IAT is only “good for predicting individual behavior in the aggregate, and the correlations are small.”... it’s not clear if the test even predicts biased behavior better than explicit measures... It seems like the IAT predicts some variance in discriminatory behaviors, but its predictive power to this end seems to be quite small: Depending on the study, the estimate ranges from less than 1 percent to 5.5 percent. With percentages so small, it’s questionable just how useful the IAT really is for predicting biased behavior — even in the aggregate... changes in implicit bias don’t seem to lead to changes in explicit bias or behavior. This suggests that strategies that mitigate implicit bias aren’t going to have real-world outcomes. "

Name-and-Shame Approach Puts More Women on Singapore Boards - "a government-backed group has started calling out companies with no female directors"
When will they start doing the same with race? Whither meritocracy?

Opinion | Inside the World of Racist Science Fiction - The New York Times - "To understand why white supremacists back the president, we have to understand the books that define their worldview."
Comments: "By contrast to the badly written bilge described here, which appeals only to white supremacists, two of the best known religious books, the Bible and the Koran, plus the Hindu scriptures, have led to the deaths of millions."
"I have no doubt that these books are nasty. I despise Trump. But the article doesn’t credibly establish a link between the two. And why is anyone quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center as if it is a trustworthy authority on extremism, acting with due diligence and without fear or favor? It has a record of incorrectly designating people and organizations as ‘extremists’ apparently because it disagrees with their politics. One of the reasons the SPLC can do this so successfully is that journalists continue to uncritically cite it as if it were a reliable and neutral arbiter, lending it a credibility it does not deserve."
"It attributed 49 murders to white supremacists over the 17 year period, or about 3 murders per year. There are about 18,000 murders per year. This means white supremacists account for about 0.0166 percent of murders. Not all the 49 murders committed by white supremacists from 2000 through 20016 were racially or ethnically motivated hate crimes"
"This is a bizarre essay. Is it permissible to hate hate-groups, and members of hate groups? It was particularly interesting that this article cites the Federation for American Immigration Reform as a hate group. The main objective of this group seems to be simply to enforce the Immigration Reform Act of 1986, duly passed by Congress, and flouted by many liberal groups."
"This article couldn’t conjure a picture more recent than 2003 of the literature it mentions, and seemed not to be able to name any recent books being published either, despite it being easier to publish (and find publications) than ever. Then the author admits that they have no statistics to back anything up (not even some cursory search volume stats?). Then they move to the standard Atlas criticism that must come with any liberal review of distasteful literature to ensure Shrugged continues to move towards equivalency on the “evil scale”."

Meanwhile, the Chinese think Trump is a genius - "My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front...
Note that the Chinese guy Leonard quotes is the very Chicom, now-former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei, who had fun browbeating President Obama openly in Copenhagen a few years ago, and Obama just took it. He's not talking the same way about Trump."

Why I’m Deleting All My Old Tweets - "There are practical reasons to delete your tweets. Increasingly, old tweets are being used as ammunition to get their owners fired or ruin their reputation by people with an ax to grind... Once tweets have been sent, they exist out of context. There’s no way to easily tell, when looking back at someone’s timeline from years ago, what jokes were trending, what the national mood was like, what everyone was faux-outraged by. Twitter is a reaction to stimulus. Once that stimulus is gone, though, the tweets linger, like a too-loud laugh at a joke no one else heard. What was funny? Who knows. We’re all going to die anyway."

Akira Toriyama Breaks New Ground by Introducing Two NEW and ORIGINAL Female Super Saiyans Who Kick as Much Ass as the Men Without Kicking the Men Out and Taking Their Place. He Is Successful
Marvel Comics Replaces Pre-Existing Male Characters With Female Copy-Cats Who Pale in Comparison to the Men They Are Meant to Be Replacing. Marvel's Comic Sales Drop Exponentially in Response

I infiltrated a Feminist Witchcraft group - "Like Dakota and Ender, most members of the group identify as Pagans, witches, queers and several other identities that I don’t even know existed. They hate the patriarchy, white privilege, male privilege, rape culture and every other crazy theory Social Justice warriors are known for. Its basically your average Feminist group, only worse, because they think they can perform magic."

Shark disguised as baby stolen from aquarium in pushchair

Higher Temperatures Linked to Increase in Suicide Rate - "when temperatures rose 1 degree Celsius above the average in a given month, suicide rates climbed by about 0.7% in the U.S. and 2.1% in Mexico. The researchers’ analysis of “depressive language” across 600 million social media updates suggested that overall mental wellbeing deteriorated during periods of higher than average temperatures as well."

WhatsApp suggests a cure for virality - Breaking the fever - "Starting this month, however, users of WhatsApp will find it harder to spread content. They will no longer be able to forward messages to more than 20 others in one go, down from more than 100. In India the upper limit is just five and WhatsApp has removed the “quick forward” button from audio, video and images, adding an extra step to the process of sending content. The goal is not to prevent people from sharing information—only to get users to think about what they are passing on"
Maybe this is racist to Indians

A stressful job: are surgeons psychopaths? - "This is not the first time that doctors have been found to have increased psychiatric tendencies compared with the general population... consultants at teaching hospitals score higher on a scale of psychopathic personality than DGH consultants, who in turn score higher than the general population"

Elin Ersson’s ‘citizen-activism’ comes at a heavy price | Coffee House - "a 22-year old Swede called Elin Ersson made headlines around the world for her ‘citizen-activism’. Learning that a failed asylum seeker from Afghanistan was to be deported from her country, she bought a seat on the plane that was due to take him part of the way back home (as far as Turkey). Once she was on board the plane Ersson refused to sit down. Filming the whole thing on her mobile phone (natch) Ms Ersson insisted that to send the failed asylum-seeker to his home country would be consigning him to ‘death’ because Afghanistan is ‘hell’. After about 15 minutes of this Ms Ersson got her way. The Afghan migrant was taken off the flight. Some passengers applauded. Ms Ersson cried. And soon she was being lauded as the Millennials’ answer to Rosa Parks. The self-appointed leaders of the sisterhood were especially vocal. A writer at the website that used to be the Independent told us that Ms Ersson has shown us ‘how effective individual action can be.’ Britain’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, applauded the ‘brave action by this young student’. And Caroline Lucas MP – joint leader of Britain’s Green Party – tweeted out motivationally ‘If ever you think one person can’t make a difference, then watch this! Huge respect to Elin Ersson, a student at Gothenburg university, for – literally – standing up for what she believes in. A true inspiration.’ Of course anyone with any knowledge of the facts could tell you that the real headline story here should have been ‘Sweden actually deports failed asylum-seeker’. In the last few years alone, Sweden has taken in around a hundred thousand people who the country itself recognises have no right to be there... Very few illegals with no right to be in Sweden ever actually do get deported... it has turned out that her 52-year old failed asylum seeker had reportedly been issued a two-year prison sentence in Sweden for assault. This sentence is on the harsh side in Sweden for an assault charge, so it will be interesting to discover just how severe the assault was that Ms Ersson’s illegal migrant was convicted of, and who the victim – or victims – of that assault might have been... For people like Ms Ersson there is only something to gain from deciding to arbitrarily impose your own personal migration and asylum policy. ‘Let them all stay’ has no moral taint to it, yet for the time being ‘Let the person who shouldn’t be here go home’ still does.
So Afghanistan is a shithole country?

Afghan whose deportation was blocked by crying Swedish girl, whipped his wife and daughters

How Beyonce's 'Ivy Park' Label Should Solve Sweatshop Scandal: Switch Suppliers - "While Sri Lankan women are making the clothing celebrating female empowerment, they’re clearly not seeing many if any of the benefits. Despite the owner of Topshop ranking 107th on Forbes’ richest list, with a net worth estimated at $6.7 billion, that wealth isn’t trickling down to Beyonce’s women working as sweatshop slaves in South Asia for just 64 cents an hour... Fashion companies need to stop shifting the burden of proof to its suppliers. Brands know full well what they’re getting into."

“Sin” taxes—eg, on tobacco—are less efficient than they look - The price of vice - "The Institute of Economic Affairs, a free-market think-tank, has produced a series of reports on the net fiscal costs of drinking, smoking and obesity to the British government (see chart 2). They estimate that, after accounting for sin taxes, welfare costs, crime and early death, tobacco and alcohol are worth £14.7bn ($19.3bn) and £6.5bn a year, respectively, to the Treasury. Obesity, in contrast, costs it £2.5bn a year... since most of the damage smokers, drinkers and the obese do is to themselves, rather than to others, governments need to think carefully about how much they want to interfere. Moreover, any cost-benefit analysis on the social impact of these vices needs to take into account that people do find them enjoyable. There is more to life than living longer."

Donald Low - "just looking at direct costs and savings, the evidence says that smokers save us money. This finding is one that moralists and conservatives find objectionable. Indeed, psychologists have found that one of the essential differences between conservatives and liberals is that the former find vices inherently objectionable. This is why people who say that smokers should be denied health subsidies (as the former dean of the NUS School of Public Health once suggested) are speaking religiously or moralistically, not scientifically or empirically. Interestingly, and almost as counter-intuitive, obesity imposes net costs to society since obese people don't pay higher taxes, and they DON'T live shorter lives (they just live sicker, and hence costlier, lives). So if conservatives and moralists need to berate somebody, it'd make a lot more sense for them to go after fat people than smokers"
If morality were only about costs to society, the terminally ill should just kill themselves, and the Japanese guy who stabbed 19 disabled to death is a hero

Mansplaining, explained in one simple chart
Ironically, feminists are against gendered slurs and gender based double standards when they're directed at women

The Normal Distribution

Michael Malice on Twitter: "The error I find most baffling, illustrated… ":

"The average of this normal distribution is here."
"Well then, how do you explain the fact that THESE points exist?! YOU CAN'T."

Links - 20th September 2018 (1)

The Art of the Australian Breakfast - The New York Times - "This cooking style features bright mashups of foods that are healthy, natural and luxurious all at once, and that even the most hardened bacon-egg-and-cheese lover may not be able to resist."

An Old Scam With a New Twist - The New York Times - "These sorts of online extortion schemes — which try to guilt people into paying off hackers claiming to have compromising information — are nothing new. But a new wave of messages that began popping up in mid-July has stepped up the ploy by showing passwords in the subject headers as attention-grabbing “proof” that someone has deeply burrowed into your computer and has your personal information"

The Affluent Asian Millennial, Fuelling Luxury Consumption in the Region - "many affluent Asian millennials take photos of the luxury goods they purchase and then post them on social media. This serves as an indirect touchpoint of influence for luxury brands to pay attention to, especially considering that a lot of these millennials have bought a luxury item recommended by a social media influencer. Chinese and Thai millennials are the most likely out of all Asian millennials to do this, whereas Koreans are the least, which is interesting to see considering Korean millennials are very well connected digitally. Perhaps, this might be attributed to the fact that it is frowned upon for Koreans to display their wealth openly?... 2 out of 5 affluent millennials in Hong Kong and Singapore travel 3-4 times a year. This consumer segment travels in style and pays attention to the quality of experience. 3 in 4 Chinese, Malaysians and Thais prefer to book their trip on business or first class"

Examining The Growth Of The Luxury Industry In Asia Through 'The Cult Of The Luxury Brand' - "Chadha and Husband's book examines the cultural and economic reasons for Western luxury brands's popularity in Asia. For example, they argue that the conspicuous wearing of luxury clothing has become a way for Asians to define their position in society. This trend, they say, has been influenced by the significant social changes in Asia in the past half-century. Examining The Growth Of The Luxury Industry In Asia Through 'The Cult Of The Luxury Brand' | Seeking Alpha - "Chadha and Husband's book examines the cultural and economic reasons for Western luxury brands's popularity in Asia. For example, they argue that the conspicuous wearing of luxury clothing has become a way for Asians to define their position in society. This trend, they say, has been influenced by the significant social changes in Asia in the past half-century... a region's per capita sales of personal luxury goods correspond directly to the region's stage on the "Spread of Luxury" model"

On Alex Liang, a Singaporean who gave up his Singapore citizenship - "I hate being sent warning letters each time I forget to notify MINDEF when I travel. I am not a criminal. My only crime was being born a Singaporean male. I hate being sent a “birthday wish” SMS from MINDEF to remind me to take my IPPT or risk getting charged. Thank you. You are always the first to wish me happy birthday without fail each year and spoil my mood for the day."

On National Service - "I do not have the perfect answer to how the system can be improved. It is the job of the full time staff in MINDEF and SAF to look into it. This does not mean I am not qualified to complain. If you are served a piece of rotten chicken at KFC, do you need to be able to show the kitchen staff how to cook the chicken before you can say anything? Please don’t give me crap about “constructive criticism”. It is my most hated two words which are ironically, oxymoron. They are convenient replies to cull off any meaning debates by forcing people to come up with solutions before they can even raise any problem...
At some stage, you have to fend for yourself, your family and your loved ones. Unless you are an extraordinary martyr of sort like Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela, which I am not. Even our Ministers justified their high salaries with the same self-serving logic. Why can’t I do the same as an ordinary Singaporean?...
For those who keep asking me to AWOL, migrate or get out of Singapore if I am unhappy with the system, I am very sorry your worldview is so narrow you cannot even accept difference in opinions."

Laugh track - Wikipedia - "'Who are these laughing people? Where did they come from?'" Gelbart persuaded CBS to test the show in private screenings with and without the laugh track. The results showed no measurable difference in the audience's enjoyment. "So you know what they said?" Gelbart said. "'Since there's no difference, let's leave it alone!' The people who defend laugh tracks have no sense of humor.""

Ogilvy’s Award-Winning Campaign Completes Bottom Half Of Famous Portraits - "Titled "Portraits Completed", the award-winning campaign completes the bottom half of famous paintings to reveal the subjects' shoes"

Mandate that businesses serve free water - "In England and Wales, all licensed premises - such as restaurants, bars, clubs and other establishments that are open to the public - are required by law to provide free potable water to customers upon request. In Singapore, however, the vast majority of restaurants, bars and clubsare legally able to refuse to serve customers tap water, let alone for free. In my experience, many premises will say that it is not their policy to serve tap water, or "we can't ensure it's hygienic, so we serve bottled water only". This is the case even as our Health Ministry starts a serious campaign to wean citizens off sweetened and aerated drinks, and towards drinking more water for better health outcomes, especially to combat diabetes. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has also spent huge sums of money to ensure that our tap water is safe, potable and always available. Furthermore, there is an active drive towards reducing the use of plastic"

Joyce TOO on Twitter - "Not one self-described Communist ever sees himself as a worker in the future socialist paradise. They all imagine themselves as some kind of party official, dictating doctrine while some other poor bastard hammers steel all day, stinking of cheap soup and filth"

Canada is using ancestry DNA websites to help it deport people - "In another example of the extraordinary lengths Canadian immigration officials go to deport migrants, the Canada Border Services Agency has been collecting their DNA and using ancestry websites to find and contact their distant relatives and establish their nationality."

Prof Bumps Female Students’ STEM Grades (Because They’re Women) - "University of Akron professor Liping Liu sent an email to his class sections saying certain categories of students—including women—may see their grades "raised one level or two." Liu claimed his approach was a part of a "national movement to encourage female students to go [in]to information sciences." Fortunately, the plan appears to have been vetoed... Liu isn't the first college instructor to toy with identity-based grading. In April, a teaching assistant at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Denisha Maddie, tweeted: "Grading papers for my mentors and I'm giving these white students a runnnnn for their grade honey!! The exam is on race." She added two purple devil emojis and one laughing face emoji."
This will instill confidence in people that women who do well in the sciences deserve their grades

Transgender model called Muslim airport worker "terrorist" in two-hour meltdown after she misheard 'ma'am' for 'man' - "Francesca Camicia, 23, shouted the comments during a two-hour meltdown at London's Heathrow Airport while travelling to Italy for a breast augmentation. Camicia also got in the face of one officer and shouted: "This guy hates transgenders and wishes me dead. You're the terrorist." Camicia, of Hammersmith, who is identified as female on both her British and Italian passports, told court: "When someone calls me 'man' I feel so desolated." She was convicted at Ealing Magistrates Court of using threatening behaviour towards Mustafa Abbas and supervisor Fahad Arshad on September 17 and was conditionally discharged for two years... "I've been a woman for 20 years. To call me 'Sir' is a crime. I've got a diplomatic passport, you can't do anything to me, I know my rights." Camicia, who has a PhD in law, was upset there was no Jewish Torah on which to swear an oath. She told the court: "It's okay. My rights are breached everyday. "Since I was born I felt like a woman and it has been a real struggle, it has been hell, but I've been so strong. "I am here today, but I shouldn't be. I'm proud to be a woman, proud to be a transexual woman." The court heard Camicia has undergone 15 gender reassignment surgical procedures and she claims to be insulted by Heathrow staff whenever she passes through."
Transphobia! Violence against transsexuals!

Man jailed, fined for filming women changing in flats, possession of obscene films - "the two men were having breakfast at a coffee shop when they began discussing how women dressed. They made a plan to roam around a block of flats in Queenstown to see if they could watch any woman changing... she shouted and Lo immediately withdrew his phone and ran away with Khoo. Later that same day, Lo used the Airplay function on his iPhone to send the two videos of the first sister to Khoo. Police identified the two men and arrested them at a lift lobby in Queenstown on Aug 1, 2016, while they were preparing to scout for women again. Forensic investigations on Lo's phone revealed three obscene photos of Lo and his wife in the nude. Further investigations showed that Lo had sent these photos to Khoo in 2015... Forensic investigations found 1,424 video files containing the same number of films without a valid certificate in Lo's possession. Lo also had 413 obscene films."

Jail, fine for nightclub bouncer who phished for Facebook credentials to trick ‘friends’ into sending nude photos - "Rostam logged in to his victims' Facebook accounts and interacted with friends of the victims to ask for photographs of their breasts. He pretended that he was representing a modelling agency, or was running a breast cancer screening campaign... Rostam asked for photos of her naked so that he could “know her sizes” and determine which bridal gowns would fit her properly. The woman sent them to him, believing that she was communicating with her female friend. He later managed to take control of the woman's aunt's Facebook account. Pretending to be her aunt, he told the same 20-year-old on that same day that “she” was suffering from breast cancer and wanted to spend more time with her. He then asked for photographs of her in her underwear and more pictures of her, explaining that these would be used to get her modelling contracts. The victim was not suspicious as she had previously told her aunt that she was interested in modelling, and sent those photos along with a video. While still pretending to be her aunt, Rostam also told the victim that he was going to die soon and that he wanted to see her touch her private parts. Again, she took a video of herself and sent it."

With DaaS Windows coming, say goodbye to your PC as you know it - "For over 30 years, we’ve thought of PCs primarily as Windows machines, which we owned and controlled. That’s about to change forever"

Services like UberPool are making traffic worse, study says - The Washington Post - "The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or avoided the trip... Jon Orcutt, a spokesman for the New York-based advocacy organization Transit Center, said the blame does not fall on individual users for finding ride-hailing services attractive, but that the burden is on local governments and transit agencies to respond to their growth with policies such as congestion pricing, the prioritization of buses through features such as dedicated lanes, and a general push toward frequent, reliable and affordable transit. It’s no coincidence, he says, that ride-hailing’s explosive growth has taken place amid transit system collapses in several major cities."
If public transit doesn't serve users well...

New Zealand to replace 'sexist' road signs after 7-year-old girl's plea - "New Zealand's transport authority said on Tuesday (Jul 31) it would adopt gender-neutral signs after a seven-year-old girl said it was "wrong and unfair" to suggest only men could work on roadside power lines. Zoe Carew spotted a "linemen" hazard sign - to warn drivers about workers repairing or installing electricity and telecommunications cables - when she was en route to her grandparents' house last month"
Time to banish all talk of females and women too

Manchester Arena bomber was rescued from Libya by Royal Navy - "The Manchester Arena suicide bomber was rescued by the Royal Navy from the civil war in Libya three years before he killed 22 people at a pop concert"

The best way to prevent terrorist attacks? Let’s welcome refugees. - "Western countries should be doing everything possible to enfranchise, empower and support the vast majority of Muslims arguing against the hate being spewed by the radicals in their midst. Helping Muslim refugees, both by offering aid to countries hosting them and by welcoming vulnerable and vetted refugees to our own shores, is not just right in itself; it also plays a part in the wider effort."
Of course Muslims are all of one mind. This is why Sweden being the most welcoming country in Europe to refugees per capita (in both numbers and the assistance afforded them - and the highest per capita receipient in the OECD) does not have thousands of violent Islamic extremists according to Swedish Security Service director Anders Thornberg, Gothenburg, in western Sweden was not one of the largest recruiting grounds for ISIS and Sweden is not one of the largest per capita exporter of jihadists and there was no Stockholm truck attack in 2017

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Links - 19th September 2018 (2)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Dominic O'Connell - "'If you're worried about a robot or some kind of artificial intelligence taking your job... according to the accounting firm PWC robots are likely to create more jobs than they eliminate... what types of jobs are most at risk from artificial intelligence and robots in general?'
'I think in general it's jobs that can be reduced to some sort of routine... Law. You can analyze a huge number of past cases using AI and then the lawyers can do more. They can come up with new types of arguments, they can tackle new types of cases. So as long as your skills are complementary to the machine, then you can actually gain from it, and you can gain higher productivity, higher wages and increased wealth. But if your skills are very easily substitutable by machines, by being more routine, and if you're not flexible enough to address, then it's a problem.'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Are we heading for 'designer babies'? - "'It's not always so easy to determine where the line should be drawn [between therapy and enhancement]. Personally, I'm someone who is autistic. I was diagnosed when I was 12. And there are many social contexts in which that can be very disabling and there are others in which it can be something that's quite pleasant and a very important part of my identity'...
'Eugenics was about ideology, science is about science and about making life better for people. We can surely at this stage in our development as human beings distinguish between those two.'
'Well, eugenicists thought so too, we have to remember that eugenics-'
'But they were wrong and we know that now. That's the point, society has moved on. That's really my point.'
'Well, I think the issue is they thought they had moved on too. Eugenics was a mainstream science. It was recognized and celebrated in the highest of medical and government circles. I think we have to ask ourselves a question and I would ask you this, John, Why do we suddenly believe that we have it all figured out now, that we can decide for future generations, for all time of humanity, even as we recognize that we had been wrong and we have made grievous errors in every generation prior to now.'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Margaret Hodge defends attack on Corbyn - "Jewish MPs and others in the party are angry because the leadership hasn't accepted the entire definition of anti-Semitism, which is written by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Trump visits Britain - "At the end of the day, you know the funny thing is, he sends those tweets out and then he's perfectly fine, he doesn't really have, hold a hostile feeling or anger...
'The giant Trump baby balloon'...
'Well, he'll think that it's about him. So it's probably a positive thing... he does find some of these things funny and interesting, and look, this is a man who has been involved in controversy for almost his entire life in public life and business life. So he's used to it... it gives him energy, all of this controversy, so he enjoys that.'...
He got elected... from the very notion from the voters in the US on the basis that he was going to upset this world order, he was gonna turn it upside down. He will go back and say, look at the amount of people at the protest against me because they don't like it when I put America first. They don't like it when I stand up for American jobs, they don't like it when I don't want to pay as much into the NATO pot as everybody else and I make them pay more. You know, this is a vote winner for him in one way or another. I think sometimes the best way to treat President Trump is to turn your back on him and ignores him"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Tuesday's business with Rob Young - "It's interesting, I think that EU fines are now listed as a regular business expense in Google's financial statements. Does that suggest that the fines, perhaps, aren't big enough?"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Erdogan wins: but has he peaked? - "I think that the only event really that could do that is an economic crash. And it's long being talked about, it's long been speculated. There's on the horizon, there have been some economic problems. Inflation is already at 12 percent. The Turkish Lira has lost almost a fifth of its value this year against the dollar. And yet despite that, he won re-election. Now, people will tell you, well, it's because the ordinary people on the street don't yet feel the impact and if there is a real economic collapse, then potentially that is a thing that could begin to shake his support base. But what the government does is, it turns it into a narrative that this is a foreign plot to try to hijack President Erdogan and to destroy the country, and for a nation that is addicted to conspiracy theories, they buy that. A lot of people buy that. It would really need to be a massive financial crash for them to begin to doubt him... Turkey likes a strong man. Ataturk was one, Erdogan is another. And when you go to Erdogan rallies, there are posters of Erdogan beside a poster of Ataturk"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The challenge to the EU - "At the town hall in Seoul, they've been shutting off the power on Friday evenings, to encourage the workers to go home"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump points the way to NATO - "What we've seen here is the Trump method. You say exactly what you really believe, as he did apparently in the interview with the Sun newspaper about Britain and Brexit and Mrs May. And then when you have the next formal occasion, you moderate, you pull back a little bit and then you pronounce everything the greatest success in the world...
We forecast that by 2030, Asia will essentially have eradicated extreme poverty as a continent"
Ahh capitalism! Of course anti-capitalists will claim that it's really science and technology that did the job - despite Communist countries' poor performance despite prioritising science and technology

What the Mystery of the Tick-Borne Meat Allergy Could Reveal - The New York Times

This autistic student asked for a 'fist bump' and a selfie. He got two Title IX investigations. - "A “fist bump” and a selfie may have ended Marcus Knight’s educational career right as it started. The student, who has autism, cerebral palsy and a shunt to relieve fluid pressure on his brain, was not allowed to defend himself against allegations in two Title IX investigations"

Man injured after 'upskirting' camera explodes in his shoe

Obama administration approved $200G grant to group with Al Qaeda ties - "The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated the Islamic Relief Agency in Khartoum in 2004 a terror-financing organization because of links to Usama bin Laden. But 10 years later, in March 2014, USAID awarded $723,405 to a charity called World Vision Inc., with $200,000 of those funds being directed to the Islamic Relief Agency"

Kuwaiti blogger slammed for 'racist' post says criticism is 'Islamophobic' - "The beauty blogger who sparked outrage after complaining about new laws giving migrant workers better rights has refused to apologise for her remarks, instead accusing her critics of attacking Islam, the hijab and Kuwait... Ms Qattan called the backlash to her comments a “foreign media campaign” designed to attack Islam, the hijab, Kuwait and the wider Gulf region."

New Extremist Political Movement Recklessly Engages In Civil Discourse - "The Southern Poverty Law Center says that it is currently tracking more than 2,300 extremist civility groups in the country, citing an alarmingly high rate of instances of open interactions at unprecedented levels of respectfulness. “It’s like they’re trying to set the clock back,” said extremism advocate Duncan Whitehead. “We thought the troubling days of people like G.K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw—two men with wildly opposing viewpoints yet a disturbing amount of respect for each other— were far behind us.” Liberal activist Danica Hartley says the movement is driven by “privilege.” “If you’re treating your neighbor with respect, you’re part of the problem,” she said. “Our party didn’t spend decades enraging and dividing people just to have groups like these reigniting the tired, dead philosophy of loving your neighbor.”"

Half a million South Koreans sign petition against immigration policy - "Nearly half a million South Koreans have signed a petition against their government’s refugee friendly migration policy. 520,000 people have signed a petition asking their government to “put Koreans before refugees” and are seeking to revoke the Yemenis refugee application. Hank Kim, owner of Core Travel Agency, has posed that people are worried about how immigrants have lived in Europe... “It has become really bad in recent weeks and it is all because Jeju introduced a program that enabled people from 186 countries to come here without a tourist visa.”... “We are not against all refugees. But we should not accept foreigners who try to exploit the policy as a means of seeking economic interests and dodging the draft in their countries""
Clearly, South Korea is the closest safe country to Yemen

Inside Germany’s first brothel to specialise in SEX DOLLS where randy punters claim to prefer romps with silicone models to real women - "Evelyn claims they are being used around 12 times a day for £70 a go and is planning to expand her female line-up. She said: “From those on benefits to judges. Seventy percent of men also come back."... Evelyn even claims wives are proving understanding of the bizarre fetish, with some “waiting outside in their car” while their man pops in for a sex doll session... France's sex doll brothel in Paris was recently saved from closure after campaigners claimed it fuels rape fantasies."

Deep-sea 'aliens' no one knew existed, unearthed in Singapore-Indonesia expedition

So cute I could eat it: The science behind 'cute aggression' - "They posit that the feeling is similar to nervous laughter or tears of joy, an attempt to regulate emotion by going in the opposite direction and thus bringing ourselves back down to a normal state"

Lamarck's bizarre theory of evolution may turn out to be right after all - "Before Charles Darwin, the leading evolutionary theorist was Jean-Baptise Lamarck, who believed organisms acquired traits over their lifetimes that they then passed onto their children. This theory has been roundly disproved...but in the case of roundworms, Lamarck was actually right... This isn't the first time scientists have found latter-day evidence for Lamarckism, but all previous findings have been deeply controversial in part because nobody could figure out a clear biological mechanism to explain them. Indeed, one of the most famous examples involves humans, as Dr. Rechavi explains:
"The classic example is the Dutch famine of World War II. Starving mothers who gave birth during the famine had children who were more susceptible to obesity and other metabolic disorders — and so were their grandchildren.""

Online trolls may be barred from being MP or councillor - "A joint analysis of tweets in the run-up to the election in 2017, by the University of Sheffield and BuzzFeed News. found that male Conservative candidates received the highest percentage of abuse on Twitter. Amnesty International had carried out a separate analysis of the accounts of 177 female MPs in the six months leading up to the election and found that Labour's Diane Abbott received almost half (45.1%) of all abusive tweets that were sent to female MPs."
That's one way to prevent your opponents from being elected
Funny how male Conservatives got the most abuse - when abuse is supposed to be racist, sexist etc

How The 'College-For-Everybody' Agenda Harms Both Students And The Economy - "Many in higher education worry continuously over the fact that only roughly half of students who enroll in college ever graduate, and that those who do graduate often take more than four years to do so. But few seek to go to the roots to attempt to discover the ultimate causes explaining these depressing statistics. One of the few who makes such an attempt is Charles Murray, whose contrarian explanation is, “Too many people are going to college.” Regardless of whether one agrees with its conclusions, Murray’s Real Education, published in 2008, has received far less attention than the gravity of its arguments merits. Real Education defends what he deems are four simple truths about education, but truths that cannot be said publicly without engendering the wrath of a culture fallen prey to what he labels “educational romanticism.” They are “(1) ability varies; (2) half of the children are below average; (3) too many people are going to college; and (4) America’s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted.”... the vision “that everyone should go to college”—like all well-intentioned projects suffering only tenuous connections to reality—asks “too much from those at the bottom, . . . the wrong things from those in the middle, . . . and too little from those at the top.”... Murray presents a higher-education system in which too many students are forced to spend too much time chasing their tails. His thesis that too many are going to college today goes no small distance toward explaining why roughly half of those who enroll in college fail to graduate. It goes a long way toward explaining why, of those who do graduate, 36 percent show little-to-no increase in the critical-thinking and writing skills that a degree is supposed to signify. It goes a long way toward explaining why, in the ‘60s, college students studied on average 24 hours a week, whereas today they spend only 14. Finally, it goes a long way toward explaining the rampant grade inflation perpetrated by universities eager to “accommodate” the masses of new students in college who can’t cope there. In the ‘60s, 15 percent of college grades nationwide were A’s. Today, that percentage has nearly tripled: 43 percent of all grades today are A’s. In fact an A is now the most common grade given in college."

Leaving your shoes outside your HDB flat

It seems it's a HDB thing to not want to leave shoes outside because, among other things, people might steal them:

A: So sad.. My flat shoes at my corridor stole when I was about leaving home for work. Sighs

B: I'm not very civilized... So are my neighbours 😂 we trust each other

C: I had my old shoes stolen about 18 years ago. From that time onwards, I never leave my shoes or slippers outside.

D: The rain could make them wet

E: the more expensive shoes u should keep inside when its still new

but then i bought a new pair of sandals for $38

it got stolen that night lol

To be fair condos restrict access.

Only DBSS hdb have some type of restriction for access

F: I just don’t like leaving my shoes outside because I feel it’s so messy. Case in point we want to buy this neighbour of ours a shitty shoe rack because they just leave their shoes all over the floor outside their house

G: Why tempt people

H: Not just rain, the workers that wash the corridor will just spray everything
They try to remove stuff but if there is too much, it's also difficult for them to do their work

I: I always thought this was an urban legend

J: It's not. I had something of mine stolen before.

K: Had several slippers stolen before.

L: If you leave your shit outside, expect it to get stolen.
it happens in condo also. My neighbor sandals got stolen suspected delivery guy.

I: Some people in HDB flats have shoe racks in the hallway outside their home

M: My family had a few pairs of shoes thrown down the stairs by someone for fun. Not very fun for us. Especially when we could only find one side of the shoe.

Links - 19th September 2018 (1)

OK, Abolish ICE. What Then? - "“The call to abolish ICE is, above all, a demand for the Democratic Party to begin seriously resisting an unbridled white-supremacist surveillance state that it had a hand in creating,” McElwee explained in The Nation in April. He called on progressives to “demand that deportation be taken not as the norm but rather as a disturbing indicator of authoritarianism.”... You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house.” He also predicted that calls to abolish ICE would harm Democrats’ electoral chances in the November midterms, a possibility that some Democrats also feared. (One recent poll found that 54 percent of Americans support keeping the agency intact.) Concerns about abolishing ICE, both as a political strategy and a practical effort, extended beyond Republicans. Eric Holder, an attorney general for President Barack Obama, described the push as a “gift to Republicans.”... While immigration enforcement receives the most attention, it only accounts for a third of ICE’s budget, according to Saldana. “If you do abolish ICE, you’re abolishing the United States’ representation in immigration court, you’re abolishing the extraordinary work that investigative agents do on the Homeland Security Investigations side,” she said. “That’s the half of ICE that does investigative work, which is human trafficking, child exploitation, international crime, military-arms proliferation—all of that is under ICE.”"
If you oppose open borders you must be a white supremacist and authoritarian

The Sexual Revolution of 'Dungeons & Dragons' - "A newly released supplementary book, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, even gives players the chance to play gender-fluid elves who worship a hermaphroditic elf god named Corellon Larethian. “It’s not just to show that they’re androgynous,” says Crawford. “These are elves who can magically decide whether they want to be male, or female, or neither each day. They are the blessed, viewed as modeling their god.” So not only is D&D encouraging players to create characters of all different types of sexual identity. It’s actually crafted a framework for them to do it. Being queer and gender-fluid is celebrated. You’re not an outcast on the fringes of the gender binary. You’re a hero blessed by a god... While never explicitly condemning women or LGBT individuals from playing, Gygax didn’t encourage it either. Early rules even specified that female characters had to be weaker than their male counterparts. That makes sense when you consider how gamers of this era were synonymous with outcasts and losers. They were proto-incels, if you will"
The cancer spreads

Canada’s new prostitution laws may not make sex work safer: research - "When Canada decided to tackle prostitution by adopting “end demand” laws, it was supposed to make sex work safer and healthier. But precisely the opposite has happened, according to new research presented at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam... Researchers from both Canada and France found that prosecuting men who buy sex instead of sex workers – known as the the Nordic model, or “end demand” approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services. “We still have a criminalization approach, all we’ve done is shift the target to the client,” said Elena Argento, a research associate with the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. “This has made things worse, not better, for sex workers.”... “It doesn’t matter who you criminalize, it creates stigma.”... Ms. Argento said the fundamental flaw of “end demand” laws is they assume sex workers are victims and “conflate sex work with trafficking.” “Full decriminalization of sex work is critical to protecting the health and safety of sex workers,” she said. Influential organizations such as Amnesty International and UNAIDS also endorse decriminalization, saying it’s the best way to ensure the labour rights and human rights of sex workers are respected. However, New Zealand is the only country that has done so, making sex work and street solicitation legal in 2003."
When the intent is to make a moral stance, you don't care about the consequences. That is why feminism as a policy imperative is disastrous

Explosion In Sex Dolls Threatens Japanese Race With "Extinction" - "Taking it one step further are the "soshoku danshi," which translates to "grass-eating men" or "herbivore men" - a term coined by Japanese columnist Maki Fukasawa who describes these particular isolationists as having a "monk-like approach to life and relationships," which of course includes no sex.
Studies in Japan estimate that this class of men, normally in their 20s and 30s, account for around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the male population...
If the nation drops birth policies now, says Whyte, “China will learn what many other countries have learned—that it is much more difficult to get people to have more babies” than to force them to stop having them."

The retiree behind the roof garden that brought back a kampung spirit - "
A unique signboard captures the open-hearted spirit that flourishes here. "Pick our herbs and spices for free," it invites everyone, even those who did none of the gardening."

Reality Show Fame Is More Lucrative Than an Oxford or Cambridge Education - "Contestants on British reality TV show Love Island out-earn graduates from the U.K.’s most prestigious universities... On average, those arriving at the Mediterranean villa in search of love, fame or fortune can expect to earn 1.1 million pounds ($1.4 million), outstripping the projected financial benefits of studying at either the University of Oxford or its counterpart in Cambridge, Frontier said. Oxbridge graduates are likely to earn about 815,000 pounds more over their lifetime than someone who does not attend university... more Britons applied to appear on the show than to study at Oxford and Cambridge, which top the Times Higher Education world university rankings.. Factoring in the debt accrued by those studying at university in the U.K., which the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates at average of 50,000 pounds, widens the disparity still further."

Personal shame, stigma and doing good: Incoming president of the National Council of Social Service Anita Fam goes On the Record - "“It’s so important to tell your kids that they are adopted,” says Ms Fam. “If they find out one day in a way they never expected to, it could be the most devastating thing. They need to be told that they were intentionally sought out and wanted by their adoptive parents. Then, one feels special because you’re being chosen as opposed to in another situation, where they might think about it in terms of having been given up by their biological parent.”... "many people have to have jobs to look after their families to support themselves and if you pay them very little, how are they going to live? And if the private sector is much more attractive, why would competent, qualified people come here? “If you have good quality people who are far more effective in the way they design their programmes, their service deliveries which are far more appropriate to the beneficiaries, you probably can do things in a shorter period of time, more efficiently. It’s actually a cost-benefit approach that we are looking at.""

Minnesota boys sue to join girls high school dance teams - "Two teenage boys sued the Minnesota State High School League on Wednesday, alleging it maintains unconstitutional rules that bar boys from joining girls' competitive high school dance teams... The suit argues the rules violate Title IX, the federal law that bars sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds."
Of course they could always rewrite Title IX to ban anti-female 'discrimination' only

Tai Sang shows how an octogenarian, single-branch bank can stop time and defy technology - "Total deposits from customers at the end of 2017 stood at HK$1 billion and total customer loans amounted to HK$168 million – not even enough to buy some of the more expensive properties in Hong Kong."

SMRT Feedback tracks down Person of Interest in Singhealth hack - "a command was made to delegate access control of Singhealth’s database named “SHHQ” from a senior officer in Singhealth to an employee of an IT Contractor. The IT contractor in the log is shown to be CTC Global Pte Ltd which is based in Singapore and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, a Japanese technology firm. The employee is an outsourced IT Analyst based in Chennai, India."
Cost savings from outsourcing...

SMRT Feedback releases new evidence showing database queries targeting hospital VIPs - "while 1.5 million Singaporeans were illegally accessed and copied, the golden nugget is actually the VIPs and VVIPs receiving medical treatment in Singapore."

Has generation snowflake infiltrated Hong Kong’s mighty police force? - "“Criminals are not necessarily all bad guys – there are many objective factors behind a crime or reasons to be sympathetic. Likewise, not each and every cop is a good guy.” It was enough to cause deep offence among the sensitive souls tasked with protecting this city, and they fired off a letter of complaint and condemnation to the hapless minister."

Italy: Minister shows Mafia stance with swim in seized pool - "Italy’s interior minister has demonstrated his anti-Mafia priorities by diving into a swimming pool at a Tuscan villa that was confiscated from a mobster. Matteo Salvini then swam a lap in the pool as journalists watched... Referring to stripping mobsters of illicitly acquired wealth, Salvini said: “We must leave these gentlemen in their underwear.”"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Madhur Jaffrey: My Life in Five Dishes - "I started writing my cookbooks in the early 80s. The BBC actually hired me to do these programs, and they were considered educational programs. Nobody thought anybody was going to really cook with them, and I think they printed 30,000 books to begin with, not thinking they'd sell but they were gone after the first program. All those books were gone, so they realized that they had a population that was hungering for Indian food and they were making it themselves. There would be reports that all Manchester ran out of green coriander after I had made chicken with green coriander"

Podcast: Sherlock Forest and the Robin Hood myth - History Extra - "If you're gonna go hunting, you need more than just forest. In fact, forests in terms of woodland as we think about it, they're not great for hunting, you think low branches, you're riding, chasing a deer. you're just gonna go slap bang. So you need heathland, you need moorland, you need scrubland, you mean trees"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Emancipation of the Serfs - "The origins of serfdom lay in a process that took best part of 200 years really between the 15th and the 17th centuries, mid 15 and mid 17th centuries. And the logic there was driven partly by the need of the state to placate particular interest groups, because that 200 year period was a period of Muscovite territorial expansion. And so in a free market, the price of labor would have gone up and indeed it did go up. And the logical consequence of that was that peasants started running away from lords who couldn't pay them, to lords who could pay them more. And that was a problem for the state because the state needed the middle ranking landlords to officer the cavalry. And in order to officer the cavalry of course, they needed some labor force at home. So the idea was to restrict peasant movement in order to keep peasants tied to the middle ranking cavalry officers...
[On emancipation] We're talking millions of people, nothing like that had ever been attempted before. There were no precedents and no one had any conception of what the consequences might be. Catherine raised the issue, but it was made very clear to her by the nobles that her throne depended on leaving it well alone...
They weren't allowed to move... legal authority of them was transferred from the landlord to the commune, to the community, and they were all responsible for each other so people just couldn't take off. They still had to pay taxes. The community still had to pay all their due. They had to serve in the army. So in a sense, the bondage was transferred from the landlord to the commune. And that remained the same up until really after the 1905 Revolution...the landlord couldn't flog us anymore... exercise that power over us in the way that he had exercised the power of a slave owner if he chose to exercise it over them, that was gone. And that was indisputable change brought about by the emancipation. What they lost was access to woods, forests, meadows, which had been an integral part of their economy, and they now had to pay for that, which they were furious about because they thought this is ours...
This was a big psychological bow to the nobility. It had been the striking definition of nobility that you were allowed, and only nobles were allowed to own serfs"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Echolocation - "This is actually a nice experiment that you can do at home is you can demonstrate your moth defense mechanisms. All you need is a bunch of keys. Keys produce a lot of ultrasound when you dangle them and if you have an outside light that you have moths gathering around... you sneak up on your moth with a bunch of keys very, very carefully and then you take your keys and you jangle them very violently and what you'll see the moth doing is it will do a whole series of loops and dives, it might fly from the opposite direction. And sometimes they even just drop to the ground, and hide up in the grass...
What the horseshoe bats are doing is they lower the frequency of the call from call to call, in relation to the speed that they're flying so they're compensating for the Doppler Shift incurred by their flight speed. This means that the call they send out and the echo that they receive are on different frequencies, so they don't have this problem with self-deafening. They're separating the pulse and the echo in frequency rather than in time...
We kind of have this idea that echolocation somehow is difficult. Flight we know has evolved multiple times. Lots of animals climb up trees and chuck themselves out and glide. So the evolution to powered flight is probably not that difficult, but somehow the idea that echolocation is this Holy Grail, but we all echolocate to some extent, we perceive the space around us by the reflection of our own echoes. So you put somebody into an echo chamber that absorbs all sound around... really disorientating experience. Because everything, even the rustling of your clothing, you can't pick up the echoes. You have no idea how big the spaces is. Whereas you walk down a corridor, you pick up the sound of your own feet, your clothes, rustling. You know how big that space is. So all human beings will echolocate to some extent...
People have recently analyzed the sound clicks that echolocating humans make... Daniel Kish in America who rides bikes by using echolocation, et cetera, and the clicks that these humans are producing are round about three miliseconds long, which is about the same duration as are the calls of bats... ... the humans using these clicks are actually using the visual cortex in the brain, which we use to understand the world by sight to process the echoes. In the bats it's the auditory cortex"

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Links - 18th November 2018 (2)

Commentary: Should a man be expected to earn more than his wife? - "The study from the US census titled Manning Up and Womaning Down, looked at what it termed “non-traditional couples” — the 22.9 per cent of married couples where the woman earns more than her spouse, according to data from the US Internal Revenue Service. It found that both partners in such couples inflate the husband’s salary and reduce the wife’s when they report. However, the researchers were especially struck by the finding that a higher-earning woman tends to talk up her husband’s salary even more than he does... "I don’t want to micromanage housework. I want a partner with equal initiative."
There are strategies to deal with this, such as that deployed by the City lawyer who instructed me on the secret to a happy marriage. Throw money at cleaners, ban guilt, lower your domestic standards and insist that neither parent bakes for the school cake sale."

Does Divorce Risk in Sweden depend on Spouses' Relative Income? A Study of Marriages from 1981 to 1998 - "The relationship between increasing women’s earnings and rising divorce rates frequently has been explained by the so-called independence effect: If a wife enjoys a higher earning than her husband does, she gains less from marriage. It has also been argued that in a society with egalitarian gender attitudes this effect is less important. In this paper, we test if the independence effect applies to Sweden, a country in which egalitarian gender views dominate and female labour-force participation and divorce rates are high. Our analysis is based on a large register data set and intensity regression models. We found support for the ‘independence effect’: The relationship between the share of a wife’s income and the divorce risk is positive regardless of the couple’s total income and the wife’s education level."
Even in the most feminist country in the world, you can't change human nature
The independence effect can also be explained as female hypergamy

Why Is Hospital Food So Disgusting? - "Food for the sick wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, Brad’s Jell-O would have been wine jelly, and the reconstituted broth a clear consomme. Cookbooks and home economics manuals used to include sections on “invalid cookery” as a standard part of domestic instruction. Why was the stuff on Brad’s hospital tray so deeply unappetizing? How did we get here?"

Grooming: Sajid Javid orders officials to build profile of sex gangs - "Javid was responding to a letter from members of a cross-party working group on the issue that includes the Labour MP, Sarah Champion, whose Rotherham constituency was one of those to suffer at the hands of a gang. It emerged on Wednesday that she was given extra police security after getting death threats in response to comments she made about the British Pakistani men who groomed white girls for sexual abuse.
Racism! Islamophobia!

Is Google’s Caste System the Future of the Workforce? - "Google, like other tech companies, espouses an idealistic vision—“be socially beneficial,” and “avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias” are among the principles listed in the guidelines for its artificial-intelligence arm. But while Silicon Valley ostensibly aims to change the world for the better, its actual practices are accelerating a trend throughout the U.S. and the world that’s creating a new tier of second-class workers. According to Bloomberg, Google is not required to provide full benefits to its contractors. In addition, contractors are reportedly not privy to the same corporate perks that full-time workers enjoy: they clock in and out every day, while full-time workers take their time getting to the office; they must pay for the Google shuttles that employees ride to work for free; and they aren’t entitled to stock options."

Ever Wanted to Get Revenge? Try This Instead - The New York Times - "“I wanted to confront my detractors,” he said, “not to shame them, but to simply ask why they wrote that negative thing about me. And then see where the conversation could go from there.” Those conversations became part of a podcast Mr. Marron created called “Conversations With People Who Hate Me.” The dialogue often featured people finding a common ground or similar experience, such as being bullied in high school. Through these conversations, Mr. Marron is able to spin negativity into something that can be leveraged for good."

Dozens injured as hundreds of migrants storm Spain's Ceuta border with Morocco - "More than 700 sub-Saharan migrants on Thursday stormed the border fence surrounding the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco, with dozens injured in an incursion of “unprecedented violence”. Sixteen migrants and ten officers from Spain’s Guardia Civil received hospital treatment following Thursday morning’s incident, during which the group bombarded agents with quicklime, sticks, stones and bags of excrement as well as aerosols used as flame throwers, the force said in a statement. The incursion, which comes days after Spain officially overtook Italy in migrant arrivals by sea, occurred at around 6.30 am when the men used angle grinders and shears to cut through the outer and inner layers of the border fence... The 602 migrants who ultimately made their way onto Spanish soil have been taken into Ceuta’s temporary migrant reception centre, a facility already overflowing with 650 current residents for its 520 places. It is not the first such incursion across the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, the two Spanish outposts in North Africa which are seen by many fleeing poverty and conflict as their best hope of reaching a new life in Europe. But it is the first entry of such a magnitude into Ceuta since February 2017, when 850 migrants crossed into the territory in four days. Security forces speaking to Europapress said the level of violence employed in the assault was “unprecedented”."
Maybe Morocco is also considered an unsafe country whose people must flee for their lives
This suggests that being welcoming to migrants just attracts more
Luckily this wasn't Israel or they would be condemned for protecting their borders

Conservatives Find Life More Meaningful Than Liberals - "social, rather than economic, conservatives were especially likely to find meaning in life. This was true even when controlling for their “religiosity,” which means it wasn’t just that conservatives had a more ardent belief in God... Past studies have also shown that conservatives tend to be happier than liberals. Republicans are happier in their marriages. Similarly, this current study also found that economic, but not social, conservatives were more satisfied with their lives... Conservatives also tend to be more “self-enhancing” than liberals are, says Peter Ditto, a psychologist at the University of California at Irvine. They tend to talk up how great their lives are and downplay their struggles. But it’s liberals who actually act happier, even if they say they aren’t, Ditto says. He found in a study that people affiliated with Democratic causes are more likely to show a genuine “Duchenne” smile—a “smile with your eyes,” as Tyra would say—and to use positive words in their speech. Then again, Ditto speculated, “the bar for meaning-in-life might just be lower for conservatives.” Ouch... the labels “liberal” and “conservative” don’t actually mean that much right at this current moment. These days, Democrats are rooting for George W. Bush appointee Robert Mueller, and the nation’s most prominent conservative is questioning the justice system"

In Firing James Gunn, Disney Hurts All of Hollywood - "To demand that every artist who works for you to have never had a past, to have never had jagged edges that have been sanded down over time, is asking for people who will make boring art. I want people who challenged the world around them. I want people who were misfits and outcasts. I want people who raised hell. I want David Bowie and Tim Burton and John Waters and Sarah Silverman and Mel Brooks and Patton Oswalt and Eddie Murphy. I want the voices that carry — and many of those voices didn’t always say things we want to hear."
Actually this is a good argument for not slamming them even for things they say now

Business students more likely to have a brain parasite spread by cats - "Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite carried by cats... Some studies have linked infection with the parasite to slower reaction times, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal behaviour, and explosive anger.... those who had been exposed to the parasite were 1.7 times more likely to be majoring in business. In particular, they were more likely to be focusing on management and entrepreneurship than other business-related areas. The study also found that professionals attending business events were almost twice as likely to have started their own business if they were T. gondii positive, and that countries with a higher prevalence of T. gondii infection show more entrepreneurial activity. The team behind the study say their data suggests that the parasite may be involved in reducing a person’s fear of failure and high-risk, high-reward ventures. Rodents infected with T. gondii are known to become less fearful of encountering cats."

Burglar wakes up couple to ask to use their Wi-Fi network

Pictured: Las Vegas woman who threw milkshake on McDonald's worker and employee who body slammed her - "A McDonald's employee and the customer she body slammed after the patron threw a milkshake at her, hit her in the face with a metal tray and insulted her mother, have been identified. Erika Chavolla, 24, was working at a Las Vegas McDonalds when she got into a dispute with the 24-year-old customer after she allegedly tried to fill up a water cup with free soda. Sabrinah Fontelar, of Las Vegas, has since bragged on Instagram that she was the customer in the video and has posted screen grabs from the shocking video and links to's original story."

Man With No Penis Tricked Women During Sex By Using 'Unknown Object' - LADbible - "A sex attacker with no penis has been placed on the sex offenders register after he tricked two women into believing they were having 'sex' with him while the lights were out. But in fact, Carlos Delacruz, 35, actually used an unknown implement when he pretended to have sex with the women who he was in a relationship with... She also suffered 'extreme pain from penetration' during lovemaking and on the first occasion had to tell Delacruz to stop as she was bleeding. The couple then had sex around ten times over the course of their nine-month relationship"
Normally a phallocentric view of sex would be seen as a bad thing
If it was so bad why did they do it 10 times?

Commentary: Expats have an edge over locals. Here's why - "Employers often observe that Singaporean graduates are strong in technical competence but less adept in people skills... Western expatriates may be more effective than locals because of cultural differences and exposure to education systems that emphasise soft skills and self-promotion."

Literature And Life - "Jessica Valenti has noted on The Nation’s Web site that potential triggers for trauma are so manifold as to be beyond the possibility of cataloguing: “There is no trigger warning for living your life.” Some have suggested that a professor’s ability to teach would be compromised should it become commonplace for “The Great Gatsby” to bear a trigger warning alerting readers to misogyny and gore within its pages. Others have worried that trigger-warning advocates, in seeking to protect the vulnerable, run the risk of disempowering them instead. “Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them,” Jenny Jarvie wrote on The New Republic’s online site."

Opinion | The Essay That Helped Bring Down the Soviet Union - The New York Times - "in divorcing human rights from foreign policy President Trump is following President Obama’s lead. Mr. Obama repeatedly prioritized engaging dictatorial regimes rather than challenging their human rights records. His eagerness to strike a nuclear deal with Iran muffled his moral voice during Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009. And he refused to make diplomatic progress conditional on demands that Iran stop supporting terror globally or executing its own people at home"

China Built an Army of Influence Agents in the U.S. - "A common thread runs through much of the United Front’s related activities in the United States and other Western democracies. It uses the freedoms guaranteed in liberal democracies to promote Beijing’s own ends. At times it resembles the tools that democracies such as the United States use to promote their own interests—funding friendly media outlets, recruiting sympathetic locals—but Chinese influence operations often employ elements of secrecy, coercion, and repression that the United States usually does not. It also means that any response to the United Front must be carefully calibrated to preserve the rights and freedoms of Chinese-Americans."

Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular - "people tend to secularize when four factors are present: existential security (you have enough money and food), personal freedom (you’re free to choose whether to believe or not), pluralism (you have a welcoming attitude to diversity), and education (you’ve got some training in the sciences and humanities). If even one of these factors is absent, the whole secularization process slows down. This, they believe, is why the U.S. is secularizing at a slower rate than Western and Northern Europe... MERV shows that mutually escalating violence is likeliest to occur if there’s a small disparity in size between the majority and minority groups (less than a 70/30 split) and if agents experience out-group members as social and contagion threats (they worry that others will be invasive or infectious). It’s much less likely to occur if there’s a large disparity in size or if the threats agents are experiencing are mostly related to predators or natural hazards."
Too bad the headline is irrelevant clickbait
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