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Monday, November 30, 2015

Links - 30th November 2015

How Marcuse made today’s students less tolerant than their parents - "Americans have not, in fact, become more tolerant. Rather, they have shifted their dislike to new groups... people in their 40s are the most tolerant of Muslim clergymen who preach anti-American hatred... Young people are also less tolerant than the middle aged groups toward militarists, communists, and racists. This is not true for tolerance towards homosexuals or atheists, because younger people simply like these groups more. (Political tolerance is not a measure of liking someone, but the willingness to extend political freedoms to those one dislikes)... youthful intolerance is driven by different factors than old fashioned intolerance, and that this change reflects the ideology of the New Left. Herbert Marcuse, considered “The Father of the New Left,” articulates a philosophy that denies political expression to those who would oppose a progressive social agenda... The idea of “liberating tolerance” then is one in which ideas that the left deems to be intolerant are suppressed. It is an Orwellian argument for an “intolerance of intolerance” and it appears to be gaining traction in recent years, reshaping our commitments to free speech, academic freedom, and basic democratic norms. If we look only at people under the age of 40, intolerance is correlated with a “social justice” orientation. That is, I find that people who believe that the government has a responsibility to help poor people and blacks get ahead are also less tolerant. Importantly, this is true even when we look at tolerance towards groups other than blacks. For people over 40, there is no relationship between social justice attitudes and tolerance... intolerance itself is being reclassified as a social good. For six decades, social scientists have almost universally treated intolerance as a negative social disease. Yet, now that liberties are surrendered for equality rather than security, the Left seems less concerned about the harmful effects of intolerance. In fact, they have reframed the concept altogether. For example, political scientist Allison Harell (2010) uses the term “multicultural tolerance,” which she defines as the willingness to “support speech rights for objectionable groups” but not for “groups that promote hatred.” In other words, multicultural tolerance allows individuals to limit the rights of political opponents, so long as they frame their intolerance in terms of protecting others from hate... tolerance for all groups is positively correlated. It is not simply the fact that leftists oppose the expression of right-wing groups. Rather, those who are intolerant of one group tend to be intolerant of others and of political communication in general... the willingness to listen to opposing viewpoints and exercise tolerance is predicted by one’s exposure to counter-attitudinal messages (Mutz, 2006) . In other words, listening to viewpoints that contradict our own makes us more tolerant. In this way, the lack of ideological diversity in higher education contributes to intolerance, especially among leftist students"
Evidence that SJWs are intolerant, and that exposure to ideological diversity makes one more tolerant

The University of Missouri's Tim Tai and the Weaponization of Safe Space - "student activists did not want their tent city or the people in it photographed, and forcibly prevented him from taking pictures. “We ask for no media in the parameters so the place where people live, fellowship, and sleep can be protected from twisted insincere narratives,” a Twitter account associated with the activists later declared, adding that “it’s typically white media who don’t understand the importance of respecting black spaces.” Tim Tai is Asian American... I see the most vivid example yet of activists twisting the concept of “safe space” in a most confounding way. They have one lone student surrounded. They’re forcibly preventing him from exercising a civil right. At various points, they intimidate him. Ultimately, they physically push him. But all the while, they are operating on the premise, or carrying on the pretense, that he is making them unsafe. It is as if they’ve weaponized the concept of “safe spaces”... This behavior is a kind of safe-baiting: using intimidation or initiating physical aggression to violate someone’s rights, then acting like your target is making you unsafe... the mask has fallen.“Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here?” an unusually frank protestor yells. “I need some muscle over here!” The woman calling for muscle? An assistant professor of mass media at the University of Missouri ... who had previously asked the campus for help attracting media attention."

Malcolm Gladwell critique: David and Goliath misrepresents the science. - "There were some interesting reactions to my review. Some people tagged me as a jealous hater. One even implied that as a cognitive scientist (rather than a neuroscientist) I somehow lacked the capacity or credibility to criticize anyone's logic or adherence to evidence... 'The world becomes less complicated with a Malcolm Gladwell book in hand. Mr. Gladwell raises questions — should David have won his fight with Goliath? — that are reassuringly clear even before they are answered. His answers are just tricky enough to suggest that the reader has learned something, regardless of whether that’s true'... the main flaw is a lack of logic and proper evidence in the argumentation. But consider what Gladwell's quote means. He is saying that if you understand his topics well enough to see what is erroneous or missing, then you are not the reader he wants. At a stroke he has said that anyone equipped to critically review his work should not be reading it. How convenient! Those who are left are only those who do not think the material is oversimplified... Gladwell sees a conflict between logical argument and what readers want... When someone with the reach and persuasive power of Malcolm Gladwell says that he is a storyteller who just uses research to "augment" the stories—who places the stories in the lead and the science in a supporting role, rather than the other way around—he's essentially placing his work in the category of inspirational books like The Secret"

The Misery of Finding an Apartment in Stockholm - "The apartment queue was started sometime in the 1960s. Anyone with a personal number could get in line for an apartment and obtain a first hand contract apartment at rent controlled prices, thus distorting real market prices. The geniuses that planned this decided to let ANYONE with a swedish social security number be in the queue. This resulted in people popping out kids and putting them in the queue right away before the kid was even 10 days old. As a result, some people have been in this queue for 19 years, even though they were probably not even ABLE to rent an apartment for 17 years (the average wait time is 7 years). When these people are legally allowed to rent, they are obviously at the front of the line and can get an apartment in the city center without problems. Meanwhile, everyone from outside of Stockholm has to wait at least a few years to get an apartment in the queue"

These Amazon Reviews Of "Mr Men" Books Are A Triumph Of Literary Criticism - "We meet Mr Uppity with his top hat and monocle - a clear and overt representation of the bourgeois industrialist. Other arriviste trappings such as his long limousine and imposing townhouse further give the game away. In a thinly-veiled reference to the oppression of the workers by the ruling class, we are told that Mr Uppity is rude to everyone, and the detail that he has no friends in Bigtown explicitly informs us that the masses are on the brink of revolution. Are we about to bear witness to class war, Hargreaves-style? To see Mr Uppity brought to account by the revolutionary power of the proletariat? Vanquished and overthrown by the party of the workers?"

Bumiputera will steal if left unaided, says law minister - "Poor Bumiputera will resort to theft, minister Nancy Shukri said today in her defence of the government’s recent move to reintroduce a race-preferential economic policy that has drawn the ire of Malaysia’s minority Chinese and Indian communities."
Since a Malaysian minister has said it, does that mean everyone can say that Malays are thieves?

Japan its own enemy in push to improve cybersecurity - "Mr Nawa found that five different cybersecurity contractors employed by the agency had discovered the breach — but that not one reported or shared their findings... “In the US, if they find a problem, they have to report,” he said. “The Japanese engineer feels he fails his duty if he escalates a report. They feel ashamed.”

Statistics Show Women Fare Badly in Muslim Countries, but U.N. Official Says Critics Are ‘Stereotyping’ Islam

Avoiding Last Place: Some Things We Don't Outgrow - "People near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder often oppose policies that help those below them, according to a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The phenomenon is called "last-place aversion."
People love to bash the rich for being assholes. But poor people can be assholes too

This man is painting penises on potholes so the council has to take action

These common vegetables are actually all the same plant - "Kale, collard greens, and Chinese broccoli were created by making the leaves of the ancestor plant's leaves bigger, and were the first brassica domesticated, sometime before 300 BCE. Collard greens were developed in Europe, while Chinese broccoli was domesticated in China. Red, green and savoy cabbages were created from a kale cultivar (likely the European collard greens) in the 1200s by selecting for a large terminal bud — the growing end at the top of the plant. The leaves are tightly wound around a short, wide stem (the cabbage's core). Brussels sprouts are like tiny cabbages, except they grow from the buds along the plant’s stem. They first hit the scene in the 1200s as well. Kohlrabi was created by selecting for a thicker stalk in a kale plant around the 1400s. Broccoli was created from a kale predecessor in the 1500s by selecting for the larger flower clusters, which are then harvested before they bloom. Cauliflower was developed from one of hundreds of broccoli varieties. The amazing evolution of Brassica Oleracea just goes to show: Humans have been tinkering with the genetics of our food for much longer than we've been creating what are now known as genetically modified foods, or GMOs. These new lab techniques just let us do it in a more precise and directed way."

Coliving: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? - "Commonspace gives these Milliennials the benefits of living with roommates—they can save money and stay up late watching Gilmore Girls—with the privacy and style an entitled generation might expect."

The U.K. has a serious curry problem - "Immigration restrictions have created a severe shortage of chefs from South Asia. It's become an acute problem in recent years as the first generation of mostly Bangladeshi chefs who opened curry houses (as they are known in the U.K.) in the 1950s and 1960s retire from the kitchen... At least two to three curry houses are closing every week, said Oli Khan, a chef and senior vice president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association UK, which represents more than 12,000 curry houses across Britain. Khan told GlobalPost he feared the industry could "collapse" in four or five years unless the government relaxes its immigration restrictions and reduces the minimum salary requirements. While many of Britain's curry houses are family owned and operated, fewer young people are interested in taking over their parents' business when they retire... Curry houses employ roughly 150,000 people and generate 4.5 billion pounds (nearly $7 billion) in sales every year, according to Khan. In other words, it's a significant part of the British economy. Leaving the EU could be the solution, according to Paul Scully, who heads the all-party parliamentary group on the curry catering industry."

How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained - "If you were to go to southern Italy, you wouldn’t find people saying “gabagool.” But some of the old quirks of the old languages survived into the accents of Standard Italian used there. In Sicily or Calabria, you might indeed find someone ordering “mutzadell.” In their own weird way, Jersey (and New York and Rhode Island and Philadelphia) Italians are keeping the flame of their languages alive even better than Italian-Italians"

Halal "Nonsense"

Local halal exports hit wall in Middle East
June 1, 2006

Local halal exports hit wall in Middle East

Food that has been certified in Thailand as halal, for consumption by Muslims, has been banned by some Islamic countries due mainly to a perception by consumers in those countries that Thai halal standards are unreliable.

A food exporter yesterday revealed that Thai halal food exports had been banned in the United Arab Emirates because the halal certification appeared on "nonsense" products.

Dubai suspended some halal food exports from Thailand last month, but now the Commerce Ministry is cooperating with exporters in an attempt to solve the problem, said a source.

"Many goods were certified halal, despite it not being necessary. The problem has led to a misunderstanding by consumers," he said. "For instance, drinking water and salt exported from Thailand has been certified as halal, even though it was not necessary at all."

Somchai Virunhaphol, president of the Thai-Islamic Trade and Industrial Association, accepted that Thai halal exports were not well received by some Islamic countries.

In the Middle East, consumers are confident of Malaysian, Australian, and French halal certification more than that from Thailand, as they have clearer standards to guarantee Muslim food, he said.

He said Thai halal food was not dangerous to the point of being rejected by importing countries, but it has not been popular among consumers.

Somchai suggested the government work with halal producers to increase the food guarantee standard and strongly promote a good image for Thai products in target markets. "The government has no commitment to promoting halal food and the plan to establish Pattani as a halal-food industrial area has gone silent," he said. In addition, Somchai suggested the government launch a halal food festival to create consumer confidence in Thai food exports.

According to the Commerce Ministry, the country's food exports increased by 7 per cent to US$2.7 billion (Bt103 billion) during the first four months of the year. The ministry targets boosting export growth for the sector by 7.4 per cent this year, or a value of $9.65 billion.

Petchanet Pratruangkrai

The Nation

Thursday, November 26, 2015

William Golding and Sexism

A picture I saw being circulated on Facebook:

"I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been" - William Golding

Many people were reacting approvingly (including the usual SJW, feminist, "equality" crowd). For example the original poster Totally Bound Publishing repeatedly promotes their LGBTQI fiction sister company with the slogan "Love knows no gender!"

Which was no surprise, given what "equality" and "sexism" mean (to non-"True Feminists", at any rate).

What was interesting, though, was the context in which William Golding made this sexist comment:

Girls say to me, very reasonably, 'why isn't it a bunch of girls? Why did you write this about a bunch of boys?' Well, my reply is I was once a little boy - I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather. I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. That's one answer. Another answer is of course to say that if you - as it were - scaled down human beings, scaled down society, if you land with a group of little boys, they are more like a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be. Don't ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say because I'm going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality - this is nothing to do with equality at all. I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been. But one thing you can't do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down, so to speak, into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilization, of society. The other thing is - why aren't they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they'd been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn't want this to be about sex. Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife.

So perhaps he decided to be sexist against men as a pre-emptive defence against the feminists who he knew would be trying to persecute him (and this was in the 1950s).

Bonus WTF-ness:

"lord of the flies doesnt show the base human condition, it shows the base privileged straight white male condition, incredibly when i point this out people get kind of annoyed"

Links - 26th November 2015

Govt detains without trial S’poreans: No outrage meh activists? - "TOC, Maruah, Vincent Wijeysingha, Rachel Zeng, Kirsten Han etc etc were all up in arms demanding justice for the manual migrant workers detained by the police after the riot. They were upset many of those detsined were then given air-tickets to move on out of S’pore, rather than sent for trial. Some had the charges withdrawn and the court granted them discharges amounting to acquittals and then were deported, while many were never charged, just deported. They demanded “due process” for these FTs, even though as someone posted on Facebook, ” Rightly or wrongly, deportation is more lenient than jail and caning.” A lot more, so is it fair to insist as the kay pohs do that the courts must be involved in “due process”? One could even argue that the govt is being easy on “alleged” rioters... I have never heard any activist say about Dan Tan, Masyhadi or any other alleged Islamic terrorist, or drug dealer... As I wrote last year: The coming deafening silence [referring to Dan Tan’s case] of the usual human rights kay pohs will tell us a lot of their prejudices: they are supportive of FT drug mules, and middle class anti-PAP activists. But not working class criminal suspects (no-one is complaining that Vui Kong’s alleged drug lord is held under ISA CLTPA) or those whom the govt alleges are Islamic radicals. Touch a FT or a middle class anti-PAP activist, and the screams will be deafening, even if it’s juz a policeman paying a home visit."

Ahmed Mohamed demands $15m compensation and written apology for homemade clock arrest
Scummy, but well played.

Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves. - "If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated... He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)... How many school shootings and incidents of violence have we had, where we hear afterwards “this could have been prevented, if only we paid more attention to the signs!” Teachers are taught to be suspicious and vigilant. Ahmed wasn’t accused of making a bomb – he was accused of making a look-alike, a hoax. And be honest with yourself, a big red digital display with a bunch of loose wires in a brief-case looking box is awful like a Hollywood-style representation of a bomb. Everyone jumped to play the race and religion cards and try and paint the teachers and police as idiots and bigots, but in my mind, they were probably acting responsibly and erring on the side of caution to protect the rest of their students, just in case. “This wouldn’t have happened if Ahmed were white,” they say. We’re supposed to be sensitive to school violence, but apparently religious and racial sensitivity trumps that. At least we have another clue about how the sensitivity and moral outrage pecking order lies... We care about the story, but we don’t care about the actual facts. Headlines and click-bait are far more interesting than thinking for ourselves. We like to point out other any bit of perceived injustice or discrimination we can find – it’s practically a new national past-time. We like playing victim, and we like talking about victims – so much so we sometimes find victims where none really existed. We also like to find somebody to blame, even when there’s nobody at fault. We like to play social justice warrior on our Facebooks and Twitters, posting memes and headlines without digging in behind the sensationalism, winning bonus sensitivity points in the forms of likes and re-tweets. Once group-think kicks in, we rally around hash tags and start shouting moral outrage in a deafeningly loud national chorus. The media plays us like a fiddle, and we don’t even notice we’ve all been had."

The Real Story of #IStandWithAhmed - "He didn’t explain that to police, however, according to the authorities... Why was the device in English class in the first place, especially after the engineering teacher told him not to show it around? When confronted by police and his English teacher, why didn’t Mohammed just tell them to talk to the engineering teacher?... 'Officers said Ahmed was being “passive aggressive” in his answers to their questions, and didn’t have a “reasonable answer” as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with. “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn’t offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school,” said James McLellan, Irving Police'... according to the cops, Ahmed was significantly more cooperative with friendly media than with the police who came to ask some simple questions... there’s a long history of detaining science students for experiments administrators don’t understand. Homer Hickam, the subject of the movie October Sky, found himself in handcuffs during the Cold War for starting a forest fire with a rocket he built. And since September 11, such incidents have become more common. As someone who went to a Jewish high school based in Los Angeles and located next to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, police and security regularly evacuated our high school due to bomb threats. If one of the students had brought a device to school in this fashion, the student would have been detained and questioned – again, in an all-Jewish school... we don’t even need weapons to suspend students anymore: wearing an American flag at the wrong time or donning a Confederate flag t-shirt will do it... as of 2012, 62.4 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews; 11.6 percent targeted Muslims; as of 2013, anti-Jewish hate crimes represented 60.3 percent of all hate crimes, as opposed to just 13.7 percent for Muslims. That’s a major decline in anti-Islamic hate crimes since 2001, when 55.7 percent of hate crimes were anti-Jewish, and anti-Muslim hate crimes constituted 27.2 percent of all hate crimes. So where, exactly, are all the invitations to Jewish students targeted in hate crime incidents?"

The Surprising Backstory Behind #IStandWithAhmed's 2-Time Sudanese Presidential Candidate Father - "Mohamed, who refers to himself as a sheikh, elaborated on his motivations for getting involved with Jones. “He said he agreed to serve as the defense attorney at Jones’ mock trial because the Quran teaches that Muslims should engage in peaceful dialogue with Christians,” the Seattle Times’ Annie Gowen wrote. “But there was also a more pragmatic reason. It was spring break and he wanted to take his wife and five kids to Disney World: to ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ as he put it.” He also claims he didn’t know the trial– in which the Quran was “found guilty” of “crimes against humanity”– would result in the Quran actually being set on fire. According to the Seattle Times, some of Mohamed’s small group of followers asked that he no longer lead prayers, while others refused to drive for his taxi company."

Ahmed’s Dad Pushes 9/11 Conspiracy Posts, Videos on Arabic Facebook Page

Ahmed Mohamed meets Sudanese president with whom father had rivalry - "Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Sudanese-American student who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school in Texas, has met the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, a wanted war criminal who the teen’s father opposed in two presidential elections... The 71-year-old Bashir has ruled Sudan since 1989 and is wanted by the international criminal court (ICC) for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur."

Jeremy Corbyn backlash over views on shoot-to-kill - "Many Labour MPs were shocked after he told me he would not be happy with the police or security forces shooting to kill on our streets, casting doubt over the legality of the strike on Jihadi John, and appearing to suggest that his MPs would not be allowed to vote with their conscience on any potential military action in Syria... [Stop the War] that organisation with whom Mr Corybn has been linked for many years, suggested that the Paris attacks were vengeance for Western actions in the Middle East."

Instagram's Essena O'Neill who abandoned sponsorships appeals for financial help - "In a teary 17 minute long video posted to her new website, Ms O'Neill - who used to spend more than 50 hours a week strategically constructing an image of a beautiful, happy and carefree teen - explains why she abandoned her 'celebrity' social media status and says that without her online income she is no longer able to support herself. 'I can't afford rent right now,' she said. 'It's like I am embarrassed to admit that I need help... if this [website] is of value to you then please support me because I can't afford my own real life.' "

Malaysia’s ‘Islam’ has negative impact on Singapore, says lecturer - "Dr Nawab Osman, from Nanyang Technology University, said a puritanical mindset and intolerance has begun to seep into Singapore and Malaysia was one of the contributing factors. “Singapore is where Malaysia was about 10 years ago. The impact of Malaysia’s Islam is real. “When (well-known Malaysian preacher) Ustaz Azhar Idrus came to Singapore, 10,000 people went to his talk,” he said at the “Maqasid Shariah in a Constitutional Democracy” forum in Penang organised by G25 and think tank Penang Institute today. Speaking on Islamic revivalism and its socio-political impact, Nawab cited incidents in the island republic such as the issue of Muslim women wearing headscarves, as an indication of the shift of Islam in Singapore... “A group of people advocated for headscarves to be allowed because it is their fundamental right to profess religion. “But a few months later, the same group of people were in a wear white campaign opposing the Pink Dot annual rally by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group. “The argument was those people should not be allowed to express their sexual orientation. That was the big contradiction. “The same people who argued for their rights to be respected, had no qualms to argue that the rights of others should be denied. That mindset is very entrenched,” he said... those who subscribe to such an ideology would criticise acts of violence and aggression against Muslims, but there would be deafening silence when terrorist acts were committed in the name of Islam."

5 Annoying Situations I Faced When Job Hunting in Singapore - "Some of you may think that expecting the interviewer have basic preparation for interview to is being “entitled and pampered”. I disagree totally. In progressive companies with a more western culture, the interviewer is expected to come prepared too. Robert Half, an American human resource consulting firm, pointed out that one of the major red flags for candidates is that the hiring manager isn’t prepared... Similarly, an article in Forbes titled 5 Ways to Spot a Bad Boss in an Interview asserted that “Regardless of his or her role in the company, the interviewer should be striving to make a good impression.”"

Asian and Western Management Styles: Which one do you prefer? - "We should definitely be careful when we encounter interviewers who have an arrogant attitude like “You are the one begging me for a job”. If someone behaves like this in a first meeting, can you imagine having to work under this person in the long run? An interview is after all a two way discussion to see if both sides are a fit for each other. People who accept such behavior as a norm often end up in companies with a toxic work culture and with bad bosses. Then again, perhaps employees with a meek and submissive personality and bosses who consider themselves as superior to others may be a good fit afterall."

Beware the assisted-suicide bomber - "it’s no longer a struggle fought out in the democratic arena; it’s now a guerrilla war. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rise of assisted-suicide bombers. These are the individuals who kill themselves in a blaze of publicity, blasting out emotional shrapnel in an effort to inflict maximum damage on those opposed to legalising assisted dying... both suicide bombers and assisted-suicide bombers are groomed. Those who doubt this should read the chilling account by Binner’s wife, Debbie, of how, having had initial qualms about her husband’s planned suicide, she was convinced that his assisted death was for the best by the director of the Eternal Spirit clinic. According to Debbie, the director asked ‘Do you want Simon to stay alive so you can have a human pet?’ She says: ‘That put me in a very difficult position. Because did I want Simon to stay alive just for me?’ Human pet? Is this really how we should view disabled people?"

SourceFed - Japan Just Issued It's First Same Sex Partnership...
Ahh... the ideology of "tolerance"
Comment: ""But don't worry, he won't be around much longer"
If anyone needs to die it's "Open minded" fucks like you
Stop preaching love and equality when all you do is bash and harass those that disagree with you, you sick fucks"

Students don't perform better with tech use in school: OECD - "In fact, the frequent use of computers in school is more likely to be associated with lower marks, OECD officials said."

Japan demands UN envoy retract remarks that 13% of schoolgirls involved in paid dates

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Stan Lee on Iceman being Gay

BBC Radio 4 - Today, 18/11/2015, Stan Lee: Publisher branded Spider-Man 'the worst idea'

Stan Lee: When we started these new books, we started getting fan mail written in crayon. A little bit later the fan letters were written in pencil. Then they started coming written in ink. Then they were typed.

And we knew we were reaching older and older readers, and that made us so happy.

When I go to a comic book convention, men with beards come over to me and they have their grandchildren with em and they say, "Gee, I loved reading those stories and now my little grandson loves em." That's a very satisfying thing to hear

Host: They also of course keep up with the times. And this year we had, I think it was this year, that we had the news that Iceman had come out as gay, is that right?

Stan Lee: *pauses* *laughs* I wasn't involved in that. That may have been after I stopped writing the books.

I didn't really have any gay characters, or if they were gay, I didn't play up the fact that they were gay.

I wasn't aware of it.

I wasn't aware of my, err, characters' sexual proclivities.

In fact, your telling me that is the first that I had heard that Iceman, is Iceman really gay?

Host: Had you not heard that? It was in the New York Times last week but I think-

Stan Lee: I don't read the magazines anymore because my eyesight isn't that good and the print is so small. So people just tell me what's happening and as I say this is the first time that I learnt that Iceman is gay.

Wow. I never knew that.

I don't care what happens as long as they tell good stories.

Why is it important to know comic book characters' sexualities?

As Emma Frost tells him, "What does that have to do with this?" Perhaps this is a nod to the irony of this even coming up as an issue.

As Kirby's biographer evaluates the situation,

he saw the decision as more cynical. “The problem is when you have a character who’s been handled by so many different writers and editors over the years, people find little nuances and seize upon them, and editors say, ‘We need an event this month. Who can we maim, or kill, or out, or marry in order to create an event?’” Evanier said. “And that doesn’t always result in a bad comic book. But it’s arbitrary.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Links - 24th November 2015

I am part of my people, says Palestinian lawyer in viral photo of tear gas kick - "11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, and 68 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 42 said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks... The Israeli government and many Israeli media outlets have framed it as a “wave of terror” unleashed by what they portray as Palestinian incitement. They point to a stream of bloody videos and fiery speeches by Palestinian leaders circulating on social media. Palestinians say there’s no need for anyone to incite, arguing that their day-to-day reality is infuriating as it is... Mr Ajaj, meanwhile, was cautious when asked what he considers permissible protests against occupation. “We are lawyers, we don’t throw stones,” he said, but added that he believes stone throwers have a role to play. He said he won’t condemn those who carry out stabbing attacks, arguing that they were driven to such acts by Israeli measures, such as land confiscations and movement restrictions. The “violence question” is rarely debated openly in Palestinian society. Mr Abbas has repeatedly argued that armed attacks counter Palestinian interests and has instructed his security forces to try to prevent them, but has not condemned the recent stabbings in deference to popular opinion. Many Israelis believe that repeated rounds of violence over the years, including the current one, prove the Palestinians do not want peace with them... social media also plays a negative role, encouraging Palestinians to live in a virtual reality and romanticising the idea of resisting occupation at a time when they lack a clear way forward."
What would happen if Israeli leaders released a stream of bloody videos and fiery speeches? What if Nelson Mandela had continued to support violence?

Don't assume I'm an internet troll just because you disagree with me - "Troll is a perfect word for the internet age, speaking to the general sense of distrust we operate under on the web. We receive tweets, emails and Facebook messages from people pretending to be people other than themselves, or robots pretending to be people, forwarding an informative link, just like we do... But I think we have more to lose by erring towards suspicion than we do towards gullibility. We hurt ourselves when we dismiss people too quickly. It’s easy to just lob an accusation of intellectual dishonesty out there and skate past any disagreement without engaging it. Better, I think, to suspend suspicion whenever possible, to give the benefit of the doubt, to take statements at face value... paranoia is a very unhealthy outlook, one that we should eschew. (Skepticism and vigilance are fine, even advisable; paranoia is, by definition, an errant excess.) It is, as Ray Davies told us, a “destroyer”. It destroys possibility. It cuts off communication. It makes the world smaller... the troll is not really arguing – the troll is laughing. The troll is laughing at you for taking him seriously. The troll does not take you seriously. I, however, do take you seriously. I imagine you are a person much like myself, sitting in front of a computer screen, reading and writing words just like I am. Communicating in these new, exciting and sometimes treacherous ways that these marvelous new machines now allow."

That Chinese Passport Story Sure Looks Like a Hoax [Update: It's Fake]

Men May Like The Idea Of A Smart Woman, But They Don't Want To Date One - "men were into hanging out with a smarter woman when they had yet to meet her, but they weren't so excited to hang out with a living, breathing intelligent woman staring them in the face. Men also felt less masculine when they were faced with a smarter woman sitting next to them than when they never saw said smarter woman. This study sheds light on one reason dating is so complicated: We don't always know what we want, even if we think we do"

A white guy named Michael couldn’t get his poem published. Then he became Yi-Fen Chou. - "Hudson, who is white, wrote in his bio for the anthology that he chose the Chinese-sounding nom de plume after “The Bees” was rejected by 40 different journals when submitted under his real name. He figured that the poem might have a better shot at publication if it was written by somebody else... perhaps because of its Rachel Dolezal-esque tangle of questions about identity, authenticity, political correctness and “affirmative action,” it didn’t take much longer for the wider world to notice. Pen names, as some on Twitter pointed out, have long been a staple of the literary world. And there are plenty of cases in which initials or a pseudonym have worked in the opposite direction — most often for women like Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) and Joanne Rowling (J.K. Rowling), who thought they would be taken more seriously or better reach their target demographic if they didn’t appear to be female. But Hudson’s critics said the literary bait-and-switch was fraudulent, racist and fundamentally different from Charlotte Bronte publishing “Jane Eyre” under the name Currer Bell. “When you’re doing this from a position of entitlement, you’re appropriating an ethnic identity that’s one, imaginary, and two, doesn’t have access to the literary world,” poet and Chapman University professor Victoria Chang told The Washington Post. “And it diminishes categorically all of our accomplishments. He sort of implies that minorities are published because we’re minorities, not because of our work. That’s just insulting because it strips everything we’ve worked so hard for”... “Yi-Fen Chou” benefited from a form of minority writer nepotism... How important is an author to the meaning of a poem? When seeking out diversity, are we looking at names or at content?"
White Privilege means not having your poem published - and being told that this is racism against minorities (?!)
Comments: "I fear that so much social and political writing--with all the usual English department "race and gender" themes and NPR-inspired "issues"--will undervalue those minority writers who are truly great not because of the color of their skin or their names, but because they are simply world class writers, like Ha Jin and ZZ Packer. There is a creepy race celebration going on in literature. We do a disservice to great minority writers when we champion stories and poems that are not first and foremost excellent."
"The name test has been used to uncover systematic bias in job applications and grades using the same material but swapping male/female or white/minority names. This made the SJWs mad because this time the bias was demonstrated in favor of minorities. When it's reversed they make hay about it (justifiably). Can't they just admit that racial bias exists and move on?"
"Just remember that 2+2=4 only when it benefits a person of color. If 2+2=4 benefits a white person, then 2+2=5. This is to make up for billions of years of white privilege."
"Perhaps if we would stop ourselves from playing a twisted game of progressive pokemon, trying to catch 'em all, entities would stop making ridiculous decisions to try and stave off the pitchfork PC squad."
"Diversity, for its own sake, is neither inherently good or bad. It is simply diverse. When seeking pure gold, diversity is most unwelcome. Yet too often, we lose sight of the real stated goal - quality - while focusing on only one aspect, that does not lend quality innately, merely happenstance"

How 'A Clockwork Orange' Author Anthony Burgess Soured on Stanley Kubrick (Book Excerpt) - "Years earlier, Burgess had sold the film rights “for a few hundred dollars,” he groused. Regardless of how the film version performed at the box office, Burgess would see no profit points... I realized, not for the first time, how little impact even a shocking book can make in comparison with a film... He wanted to see how Americans were responding, and found that “the theology passed over their coiffures.” He was especially dismayed by “the blacks” in the audience who shouted, “Right on!” at the thug-hero Alex... “Neither cinema nor literature can be blamed for original sin. A man who kills his uncle cannot justifiably blame a performance of ‘Hamlet.’ On the other hand, if literature is to be held responsible for mayhem and murder, then the most damnable book of them all is the Bible, the most vindictive piece of literature in existence”... Burgess, for his part, grew to hate the film. Or Kubrick. Or both. A decade later when he adapted his novel for the stage, he made sure to include the following stage direction: “A man bearded like Stanley Kubrick comes on playing, in exquisite counterpoint, ‘Singin’ in the Rain‘ on a trumpet. He is kicked off the stage.”"

Florida eighth-grader gets detention for hugging a friend
Too bad she's white

Parental Age, Especially The Father's, Is Linked To Genetic Mutations In The Child - "Fathers passed on about four times the number of genetic mutations to their children than did mothers, which also agrees with earlier evidence. It’s believed that sperm cells are more likely to contain genetic errors because of the high rate at which they’re produced – hundreds of millions of cells per day – which increases the odds of a manufacturing error. The team also found that the older the father, the more likely was the child to have genetic mutations. And the risk just keeps rising with the father’s age. For example, a 20-year-old father will contribute about half the number of mutations of a 36-year-old father. A 70-year-old father will pass on about eight times the number of mutations as the 20-year-old."
If you claim to be against incest because of birth defects, you should be fine with homosexual incest - and you should be against older people having heterosexual sex

Promotion ads of green tea and soft drinks to face banning - "He said Thais’ daily sugar consumption is over four times the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended level... Promotion campaign of soft drinks that offered cars and gold to consumers has encouraged over consumption of sugar, he said."

Japanese tourist center asks small-penised travelers to not make a mess in the bathroom
"Why is the Japanese message so different from the English one
In Japanese it means "thank you for always keeping the toilet clean while using""

Nixon: I chose to be a lesbian - "Actress Cynthia Nixon refuses to bow to pressure from the gay community to change her opinion that her homosexuality is a "choice", despite facing criticism for her beliefs... Nixon, who also has an 11-month-old son, Max, with Marinoni, is convinced her change in sexual preference was just that - a preference - because she considers herself a heterosexual who simply fell in love with a woman... In a candid interview with the New York Times Magazine the actress says, "I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line, 'I've been straight and I've been gay, and gay is better.' "And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it's not, but, for me, it's a choice, and you don't get to define my gayness for me... "I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn't realise I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I've been out with.""

Epigenetic 'tags' linked to homosexuality in men - "The biology of sexual orientation has been one of the most vexing — and politically charged — questions in human genetics. For the first time, researchers have found associations between homosexuality and markers attached to DNA that can be influenced by environmental factors. Twin studies and family trees provide strong evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly genetic. When one identical twin is gay, there is about a 20% chance that the other will be as well. But because this rate is not 100%, it is thought that environmental factors play a role as well. One of the best characterized is the 'older brother effect': the chance of a man being gay increases by 33% for each older brother he has. The reason is not clear, although one hypothesis holds that the mother’s immune system begins to react against male antigens and alter the fetus’s development... By scanning the twins’ epigenomes, the researchers found five epi-marks that were more common among the gay men than in their genetically identical straight brothers. An algorithm they developed based on the five epi-marks could correctly predict the sexual orientation of men in the study 67% of the time"

What should you do if your son says he's a girl? - "You could insist that he is a boy and try to put an end to behaviors such as cross-dressing and saying that he is a girl. The alternative is to let him be a girl: grow long hair, choose a new name, dress as he (or “she”) pleases, and when it is time, obtain the necessary hormones and surgeries for a female body. As scientists who study gender and sexuality, we can tell you confidently: At this point no one knows what is better for your son... Gender dysphoric children have not usually become transgender adults. For example, the large majority of gender dysphoric boys studied so far have become young men content to remain male. More than 80% adjusted by adolescence."

Keeping Char Kway Teow Cheap—At What Price? - "
while hawker centres were traditionally celebrated as meccas for cheap food, in
recent years, hawkers and customers alike raised concerns over rising business costs, and the resultant increases in hawker food prices. Furthermore, the survival of the hawker sector was threatened by younger Singaporeans’ lack of interest in becoming hawkers, which was seen as a backbreaking, unglamorous and poorly paid vocation"

Case urges all hawkers to display prices - "The survey also found there was no change in mode prices - prices most commonly charged by hawkers - compared with a similar study in July last year for five surveyed food items. The mode prices were: $5 for chicken nasi briyani, $3 for chicken rice, $3 for fishball noodles, $3 for mixed vegetables rice (two vegetables and one meat) and $1.80 for roti prata (two plain pratas)."

Nazi Germany in 2015

"I sometimes wonder now how the regressive left would respond if the rise of Nazi Germany was to happen in 2015?

--"Germany has just invaded Austria"

++"Oh, it's because of imperialism because of the hideous terms imposed on Germany at Versailles by the Alliance"

-- "oh yeah. But don't you think this is a problem? They've now annexed Poland."

++ "Well this is all just Western media bias. I mean, Britain still has an Empire elsewhere so you can't complain that Germany is doing the same in Europe."

--"Yes, that is true. But don't you think that's another discussion for another day? The Germans have just annexed Denmark and Norway."

++"Well the problem is that you think that all Germans are inherently evil. It's not *all Germans*. Most Germans are peace-loving people who just want to get on with their lives."

--"Yeah, I get that, but it is Germans (and now others) who espouse a specific ideology and using this to commit acts of violence."

++"Besides, it is the Germans who are the largest victims of German Nazi violence. Not British forces"

--"Yes, I know. And particularly German Jews, gays, disabled, or Germans of particular Christian sects. But that doesn't add anything about what we should do *now*. They have invaded Belgium and the Netherlands."

++"Well violence only perpetuates violence. They *want* a war. And war will only lead to the deaths of many innocent lives."

--"Okay, yeah I get that. So what should we do, then? They are seeking war. There is no dialogue. They are killing people anyways. You say we shouldn't get into a war because we will end up killing people. It seems like no matter what we do, people are going to die because there is a group of people who are determined to make sure as many people suffer as possible. What do you recommend that we do? And BTW They are in France now. We can literally see them across the strait of the English Channel.""
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