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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Links - 24th September 2017 (3)

Why smart people are better off with fewer friends - The Washington Post - "people who live in more densely populated areas tend to report less satisfaction with their life overall. "The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy" the survey respondents said they were. Second, they find that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness. But there was one big exception. For more intelligent people, these correlations were diminished or even reversed... When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy."

Great Scientists Don't Need Math - WSJ - "Many of the most successful scientists in the world today are mathematically no more than semiliterate... Fortunately, exceptional mathematical fluency is required in only a few disciplines, such as particle physics, astrophysics and information theory. Far more important throughout the rest of science is the ability to form concepts, during which the researcher conjures images and processes by intuition... Over the years, I have co-written many papers with mathematicians and statisticians, so I can offer the following principle with confidence. Call it Wilson's Principle No. 1: It is far easier for scientists to acquire needed collaboration from mathematicians and statisticians than it is for mathematicians and statisticians to find scientists able to make use of their equations. This imbalance is especially the case in biology, where factors in a real-life phenomenon are often misunderstood or never noticed in the first place"

The Self-Esteem Movement's Beneficiaries Come of Age — Letters to the Editor - WSJ - "The graduating classes at most universities entered kindergarten in 1997: an era of self-esteem promotions, universal trophies and zero tolerance for any statement that could possibly offend any individual in any regard, regardless of the accuracy of the observation. These new adults have been protected from the ordinary daily negativity that abounds in the real world and that is critically necessary for full emotional development"

Karmic Battle Takes Place on Shanghai River - WSJ - "After prayers, the Buddhists release the creatures into the river to swim free... you can imagine how the Buddhists reacted a few years back when weekend fishermen began hovering nearby with nets affixed to long poles or hidden underwater to catch the liberated animals and sell them back to the markets or fry them up for dinner."

The Exhaustion of American Liberalism - WSJ - "Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism. All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending? America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mire... Perhaps the Obama presidency was the culmination of the age of white guilt, so that this guiltiness has entered its denouement. There are so many public moments now in which liberalism’s old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks— Elizabeth Warren in the Senate reading a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, hoping to stop Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general. There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist. When Ms. Warren was finally told to sit, there was real mortification behind her glaring eyes. This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now"

In China, Pork Fat Inspires Poetry, Art and Literature - China Real Time Report - WSJ - "“When I was little, being a butcher was my dream so I could kill pigs and eat the pork fat,” Chinese novelist Gao Wenxuan recalls in the book. “Walking in the countryside with an oily belly, walking in front of starving children with hungry eyes.”"

Study Sees Link Between Allergies and the Infant Gut - WSJ - "Dogs tracking in and out of the home also can boost the diversity of the bacteria in that newborn microbiome and lower the risk of allergies, Dr. Lynch and her colleagues reported in a 2014 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Even the practice of cleaning a baby’s pacifier by sucking on it promotes an exchange of bacteria and lowers the baby’s risk of developing allergies, researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg reported in a 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics.) Other common practices, including delivery by C-section or the use of antibiotics, have a substantial effect on gut bacteria at a time when the immune system is still a work in progress... “Babies born by C-section get bacteria minutes after birth, but not from the mother”"

Afghan 'Child' asylum seeker is revealed to be in his TWENTIES - "An Afghan who claimed to be just 12 is revealed to be in his twenties after assaulting his British foster father. The Afghan teen, who had arrived in Britain illegally via Calais, was actually registered as a child but after a dental examination found that he had rotting wisdom teeth, a dentist suggested he was more likely to be an adult... 'The dentist said he had to be in at least his 20s but the Home Office strike people down to 16 if they don't know what their age is for certain, so he was listed as 16.' Mr Davies said that Britain was being fooled by fraudster immigrants who knew how to play our system... The comments from Mr Davies come just weeks after two shocking pictures emerged of migrant 'children' in Sweden. The first photo was of Iraqi Saad Alsaud, who despite looking like a man in his twenties, is reported to have been just 14. The other shows a Somalian named Youssaf Khaliif Nuur who claims he is 15 though he is 6ft tall and, according to one unconfirmed source, shaves his beard and moustache."

Home Office rules out 'inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical' dental checks to verify age of Calais refugee children - "Mr Davies was criticised by the British Dental Association, but he said he did not accept that it was "intrusive" to take an X-ray of a migrant. "Someone who is willing to throw themselves on to an electrified rail line or jump into a moving lorry isn't going to be terribly worried about having an X-ray.""

Migrant crisis: Three quarters of child refugees age tested in Denmark are adults - "Officials in Copenhagen used dental X-ray checks - which have been blocked in Britain because they are 'inhumane' - to rumble hundreds of adult migrants trying to clinch asylum by claiming they were children. Immigration officers referred 800 refugees who they suspected of lying about their ages to specialist scientists, who discovered that at least 600 were far older than they had told authorities. And the figure could be even higher because officials built in plenty of leeway and gave borderline cases the benefit of the doubt to make sure no genuine under-18s were denied their rights under international law... Critics have also pointed out that there are serious child safety issues raised by the possibility of grown men being classified as minors, because they will be placed in schools alongside vulnerable youngsters"

This Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks Like - "What’s remarkable about this letter is that, as Justin Weinberg noted in the Daily Nous, a philosophy website, each and every one of the falsifiable points it makes is, based on a plain reading of Tuvel’s article, simply false or misleading... it’s remarkable how many basic facts this letter gets wrong about Tuvel’s paper. Either the authors simply lied about the article’s contents, or they didn’t read it at all. Every single one of the hundreds of signatories on the open letter now has their name on a document that severely (and arguably maliciously) mischaracterizes the work of one of their colleagues. This is not the sort of thing that usually happens in academia — it’s a really strange, disturbing instance of mass groupthink, perhaps fueled by the dynamics of online shaming and piling-on... Trans people face the threat of real, physical violence every day in huge parts of this country and this world. A nerdy philosophy paper trying to suss out the specifics of identity and identity-change is not an act of violence, and it’s really unfortunate that this sort of “speech is violence” language has caught on given that it makes it much easier for opponents of trans rights (or the rights of other marginalized groups) to sweep away legitimate claims of violence as mere hysteria"

The lessons of the Rebecca Tuvel witch-hunt - "Over 800 academics and others signed an ‘open letter to Hypatia’, calling for the article to be retracted, on the grounds that it causes ‘harm’ to marginalised people and reflects ‘white and cisgender privilege’. More piled on... ‘Tuvel enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways throughout her essay. She deadnames a trans woman... Berenstain is not debating the substance of Tuvel’s ideas – she is simply declaring that certain words are taboo, and is mad that Tuvel crossed her line by using them"
Maybe 800 academic feminists are pseudo feminists and a small, unrepresentative group (Of 13,000 full/part-time faculty and instructional staff in degree-granting institutions in fall 2003, 2,200 were women). And the fact that tumblr feminists use the same language suggests that they aren't really misunderstanding feminism.
No true feminist puts sugar in her porridge

Rebecca Tuvel, Amy Cuddy, and “bullying” in academia. - "Tuvel herself reported getting hate mail and said she’d been repeatedly “denounced as a horrible person by people who have never met me”... more than three-fourths of tenured and tenure-track positions are held by men, and black women make up just 0.4 percent of professional philosophers—just 55 scholars in a total of 13,000."
Slate's defending and playing down of the witch hunt is self defeating: given how few women there are in philosophy (which we can take as a proxy for feminist philosophers), the hundreds signing the anti-Tuvel letter are even more striking - and even less able to be dismissed as a small, unrepresentative minority

Data...or “The Philosophy Exception” - Women in introductory philosophy courses (n=700) generally
– found the course less enjoyable, and the material less interesting and relevant to their lives, than their male counterparts;
– felt they had less in common with philosophy majors or instructors and felt less able and likely to succeed in philosophy;
– reported being less likely to enroll in more advanced philosophy courses or major in the discipline, and
– were likelier to disagree that the syllabus included a fair proportion of women authors.
However: Women were no more likely to report that class conversations were aggressive, or to anticipate lower grades.
If men in introductory feminism courses found the course less enjoyable, the material less interesting etc than women, would this be proof that academic feminism was biased against men?

of course, there’s the backchannel – Freddie deBoer - "When within-group criticism is only voiced privately, there’s no opportunity for the group to evolve, to shore up its weakness, to evaluate its own problems, to correct its own course. And political movements have to evolve or die. It’s a classic cause of political self-destruction, when a group’s inner dynamics become so ossified and conformist that no one is willing to point out the group’s problems. That’s the condition in far too many left spaces today: a near-total inability to point out the cracks in the foundation for fear of being shamed yourself... For every one of these controversies that goes public, there are vastly more situations where someone self-censors, or is quietly bullied into acquiescing... Since the beginning of my graduate education, I have been someone who other academics feel that they can come to in order to voice their shock and dismay at just how toxic the culture within academia has become. They tell stories about petty witch hunts and show trials within their departments. They share their fear about objecting to arguments they find unfair or unsupported. They say they feel compelled to follow current academic fads for fear of being labeled. They are convinced that stepping out of line with the constant search for offense will render them permanently unemployable, even though they are themselves progressive people. You’ve heard the litany before. They share it with me... all kinds of people discuss this stuff with me: white and black, male and female, trans and cis. And the people who approach me aren’t mostly those rare academic conservatives, who barely exist these days, but rather liberals and leftists who believe in the movement for equality but find that the way that movement operates in the contemporary university has become toxic and unjust. And that all comes down to a broader reality: on campus and off, even many or most of those who are deeply committed to the cause of social justice and its expression in feminism, anti-racism, and the fight for LGBTQ rights recognize that the culture of social justice is deeply unhealthy... We will not build a mass movement by turning our groups into a never-ending production of The Crucible. That tendency is almost uniquely destructive to our efforts to spread our beliefs through persuasion, which, you know, is the whole fucking point of all this — to convince those who are amenable to being convinced, so as to build a majority party that can win... there’s a backlash brewing, against these tactics... We’ve already seen the political backlash; look at the conditions of this country. Soon, I think, there will be a social and cultural backlash as well... Central to the culture of Weird/Left Twitter is the absolute rejection of any insecurity or self-doubt whatsoever. It’s perhaps the most obvious shared trope within that discursive space: you treat everything in politics as laughably obvious, as though the entire world unfolds itself in predigested moral scenarios where there is always a hero and a villain and where anyone who does not immediately identify the correct position is a shill or a fool."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Public Opinion - "'I think in a democracy every view has a right to be heard. But I think the majority has important rights too. For example that we should take timely decisions that push forward our progress and our prosperity. And I fear that in this country we have skewed too much in favor of minority vested interests'...
Protest is the lifeblood of democracy. Democracy is about much more than elections every five years. It's about a constant process of consultation and negotiation between the rulers and the ruled. And so protest has a very very important role in keeping politicians on their toes and hold them to account. I agree absolutely that it's very important and most effective when protest is backed by evidence...
What is it we complain about when it comes to politicians? We complain that they don't act in the long term, they don't address big, complex, structural issues. They instead knee jerk. They respond to one off things. They respond to public opinion. So arguably isn't your life's work I mean part of the problem that we've got, which is a policy that is all about fast responses rather than these deep, more complex issues? Hard issues to mobilize people about...
'Majorities can be wrong'
'They can get things wrong but that doesn't mean that minorities should keep prevailing'"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Drugs in Sport and Human Enhancement - "The playing field is not level. It's mostly private schools that have them for a start: half the UK's gold medalists in 2012 went to public i.e. private schools. Top sportsmen and women are supported by multi million pound programs: doctors, nutritionists, high altitude training. That's why champions come mainly from rich countries. Why are performance enhancing drugs wrong when all sorts of other ways of obtaining competitive advantage aren't? Sport's not fair, life's not fair...
If it's the case that diversity and you know people having a lot of different flaws is a good thing then we should probably be trying to create more flawed people. More psychopaths...
The doping rules are actually an artificially imposed set of rules brought about by sporting bodies that say a particular form of enhancement across all sports is immoral, wrong and there's so many rules now and I'm suggesting that those rules are arbitrary morally because there's lots of enhancement in sport"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Moral Certainty - "'Convictions need to be treated with great humility because I think actually what we regard as solid moral principles are very much influenced by time and place. They change with geography, they change over time'...
'I'm actually going to defer to Bertolt Brecht who has this great line in his poem In Praise of Doubt where he says: greet with cheerfulness and respect the man who treats your word like a bad penny and I think that's very good advice to journalists, conviction driven or otherwise and to us all because I think we use doubt best when we use it to test our own arguments'...
Not sure whether it's actually bravery I think that might be you sort of stretching the concept. If you, you know if you have a jolly nice job, good life out of it then good for you. I'm not sure it's bravery, I think there're very few brave columnists other than in dictatorships and none of us thankfully are there"
In a time when the bar for bravery is so low, some still have standards...

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Charities - "[On charities campaigning] If you say ministers want to hear from charities they can pick up the phone and ask the charity. The charity can pick up the phone to the minister."

History According to Bob: Nazi Germany

The following extracts come from various podcast episodes in this series:

[Nazi] Biological State:
"Most of the leadership of the Nazi party were closer to the Indo-Aryans of India and Central Asia than they were to the Nordics... at one time, Hitler made the comment that while, no matter what Himmler [doing Nazi archaeology] does, the Greeks are at their high civilisation while the Aryans are barely making pottery"

Nazi Cultural War Part 2:
"This intellectual migration was actually welcomed by the Nazis, who saw the exodus as the beginning of the purification of German culture. When the emigrees began criticising Hitler's dictatorship from abroad, the Nazis reacted by simply charging them all with treason. In the eyes of the Nazis, the activities of the emigrees proved that they had been a threat to the state and that in fact the intellectuals who left Germany never had been true members of the German state. Behind the charges of disloyalty launched against the emigrees stood a a general anti-intellectual sentiment from Hitler's earliest years, because he despised intellectuals and his hatred was shared by many within the Nazi party. Most hardcore Nazis did not value thought, did not value cultivation of intellect. They preferred action. And there's nothing wrong with action, but you need to think before you act, and a reliance on instinct. Actually abstract thinking was degraded to the point of being considered a Jewish characteristic by the Nazis. The results of the Nazi anti-intellectualism became apparent quite early. On May 10 1933, SA men and Nazi students across Germany led huge bonfires, publicly burning thousands upon thousands of books publicly. The treasonous intellectuals had been banished so now their ideas had to be erased from the German memory... Hanns Johst, a Hitler youth leader, dedicated books to Heinrich Himmler and in one of them said, 'whenever I hear the word 'culture' I cock my pistol'"

Nazi Propaganda Part 2:
"Most [Nazi public] meetings were even held in the evenings, because Adolf Hitler believed that listeners' resistance was reduced by being at work all day. They were tired by the end of the day so they really didn't want to fight with the messages, to some extent"

Nazi Cultural War Part 3:
"There are entire sections of Mein Kampf that were devoted strictly to the question of education. And this isn't anything new. Any group that takes over a country and wants to make changes quickly and in a hurry does the education thing. Look what the Taliban did when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan. And what other groups tend to do when they take over and want to make changes, particularly trying to deal with the youth and indoctrinate them into their new philosophy. To some extent you can see this in a different light in the use of children in the various wars in Africa and in the Middle East. You bring them up as little warriors and they know nothing else. So you have a good killer and he doesn't think much. And that's exactly how you want to keep them doing. So education has always been a method of making change. Here in the United States, seemingly every group that has a cause wants their day in the educational process. When I taught in high school, it was hard to figure out what was going on because we had this ribbon for this week and that ribbon for next month, and this ribbon for the time after that and what happens is you overwhelm everybody and they pay no attention to anything"

Nazi Cultural War Part 6: Cinema:
[On Kolberg] They even did an 1813 battle against Napoleon. And this is at the end of the war and they used a whole division to film it... There was a general clampdown on pornography as well as prostitution. It was no longer possible to have writers and movie directors treat moral questions such as sex and prostitution in a realistic social context. Now sex didn't disappear from the Nazi movie screens, but it was greatly restricted. For example, sex had to be used to convey a stern moral lesson. Or sex could never break the purity of the Nazis' proclaimed purification of the German woman. In films, it was always the foreign woman or the Jew who was portrayed as lacking the proper moral restraint. German women were always depicted as chaste and noble and in any German film, the fate of any German girl in the film who violated the moral code was usually suicide by the end of the film

Divide and Conqueror:
The lack of a Great Power on Germany's eastern border meant to contain German expansion would require military and political cooperation of several of the small states. Such cooperation was difficult to maintain plus those same countries were more concerned about the Soviet Union, about Russia. So Hitler had plenty of opportunity to divide his opponents and conquer them. Basically he's got Poland on one side, Czechoslovakia and Austria.
Another similar advantage was offered by the mistrust and suspicions that existed between the West and Communist Russia. Now we can talk about these differences between Communist Russia but the Germans have worked out some deals with the Russians before. Remember that the Western powers embargoed industrial equipment to the Soviets. Well, Germany, you know, sold industrial equipment in return for other situations. It was illegal for example for German generals to, y'know, to manoeuvre more than a division because that meant that they wouldn't be able to deal with army groups. Well, they built a school in Russia, they trained Russian commanders along with German commanders and used Russian troops. There's a tank school, there's an airborne school. All this stuff is in Russia. Now that would of course mean that Russian officers were as well-trained as the Germans. The trouble is when World War II broke out, most of them were dead because they were purged in the last purge of Stalin before World War II broke out. So there's some interesting stuff along in there.
You also have conflicting interests and disagreements over how to handle the German problem. That also kept Britain and France from developing a consistent policy for containing Hitler. Britain recognised many of the Versailles treaty provisions were unjust and actually favoured peaceful compromise to accommodate legitimate German demands. The French urged a hard line and would back it up with force. Although when Germany does ultimately move into the Rhineland, France did nothing.
And then of course you have the long and awful story of the legacy of World War I. And obviously it's a great advantage. First of all, anti-war and pacifist sentiment was strong in all countries. It created an aversion to rearmament or even alliances. And it was difficult for democratic states to win popular support to rearm or increase their armaments or to take military action. While Hitler can just build his equipment and whatever. Which is one reason why the British and the French lean so heavily on Mussolini, the good fascist, as a crutch to help deal with Hitler. Of course the Axis Treaty is really going to make that a mess...
Throughout the 1930s, Hitler repeated his call for peace but then warned of the potential for conflict if Germany's legitimate demands were not recognised. By combining calls for peace and negotiation with threats of force, Hitler sometimes created confusions about his actual intentions

March to War 1933 To 1935:
Hitler had not planned the coup but hoped it would succeed. Hitler couldn't even assist his fellow Nazis because Mussolini backed the Austrian government and mobilized the Italian army on the Austrian border to preclude German intervention. So Hitler suffered a major diplomatic defeat and of course here we have Mussolini. And you can see why he's considered by the rest of Europe to be the good fascist because here he is showing that he can stop Germany if necessary. And of course with a strong Italy, hopefully the British and the French don't have to spend as much money on armaments and what have you because they can count on Mussolini. So you can see the catastrophe that occurs later on when the Axis agreement is signed.

March to War 1937 To 1938 Part 2:
The German Army wasn't yet ready for war and Germany wasn't geared up for such a massive effort. During the invasion of Austria, a majority of German tanks and trucks actually broke down... The Soviets mobilised. The Soviets told the Czechs that they were willing to send troops into Czechoslovakia to defend them. Of course the problem is the Czechs were concerned that if the Soviets came in they would never leave...
Some of these pictures... Chamberlain looks like he's been drugged... Chamberlain flew in a hurried amount of time to Munich. He is deathly afraid of flying... they kind of... anesthetised him, maybe give him some alcohol or whatever. But he was not in too good a shape and of course Hitler makes the comments later on that he'd seen the face of Germany's enemy and they were worms

Fall Czechoslovakia:
Czech President Emil Hácha travelled to Berlin to try and negotiate with Hitler. Hitler and his associates intimidated the elderly Hácha with hours of verbal abuse and threats of a bloody invasion of the remaining part of Czechoslovakia, including a devastating bombing raid on Prague until finally the Czech President simply collapsed. After he revived, he granted Hitler a pseudo-legal cover for the destruction of his country

Invasion of Russia Part 2:
We didn't do blackouts... The British transport ships are trying to leave port in the dark to get out to the ocean to beat the submarines and the submarines are sitting outside of American harbours using the city lights as a backdrop, picking off these silhoueted transport ships. I mean there's British soldiers buried all over the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States. They even captured a German submarine in the Gulf and they found they had, they'd been coming ashore to the grocery store to buy food. They had Wonder bread wrappers in the submarine

Speer and the German War Economy:
Overt resistance or violence of strict Nazi regulations, particularly against sexual relations with Aryan women meant execution. Yet here Nazi policy clashed with traditional culture and individual choices. German women and men, as well as Nazi officers, had sexual relations with foreign workers. And German Catholics opposed executions. And the German priests often sympathised with the the Poles because they were, of course, fellow Catholics. So it's a real mess... and there is sabotage

German Homefront:
The cruel reality of war to the German home front. Some of these effects were offset by Hitler's demand that civilian consumption not be drastically reduced believing that Germany had lost World War One because of the breakdown on the home front. Hitler saw civilian morale as an essential component of the war effort. Economic hardships and shortages gradually increased but the Germans never had to endure the starvation and other privations that they experienced between 1914 and 1918

The Tide Turns Part 2:
German soldiers started to exhibit mental and physical exhaustion as well as suffering from disease and hunger. Under such conditions German soldiers became more susceptible to Nazi propaganda

Holocaust Part 1:
Before the war it had been Nazi policy to make Germany... Jew free by forcing the the Jews to emigrate and to a large extent the approach worked. The conquest of Europe however brought several million more Jews under Nazi control in an area that was to be completely German. During the first years of the war genocide was not planned to be the solution to the new problem. As late as 1940 the Nazis were still discussing the possibility of shipping the Jews to the French colonial island of Madagascar where they would live under Nazi guard... I think most people are probably familiar with the famous gas buses. These are buses that were designed to recycle the carbon monoxide so that the people riding in it would be gassed and die before they get to the next location wherever there was being being taken to. These were quite frequently used in old age homes for people because the families would suddenly get a notice that grandpa appeared to be pretty good the last time they were there was suddenly dead for unexplained reasons. Then we have the plans for those, they survived, and you know that was well let's get in and of course the area where the bus driver is was sealed off

Holocaust Part 2:
[The SS] were reinforced by reserve police battalions consisting of older or militarily ineligible Germans whose official duty was merely to maintain order in the occupied area. When ordered to participate in the round up and shooting of Jews most of these "ordinary Germans" proved just as capable as the SS in carrying out the murder of Jewish men, women and children

Holocaust Part 4:
The Germans used sonderkommandos. These were Jewish prisoners who did all the you know - they are the ones who move the people into the gas chambers. They're the ones who moved the bodies, they are the ones who cremated them. You know these people are doing that because they believed that would keep them alive. And what they didn't know was every so many months they were all gathered together, machine guned and then a new group of Saunders commandos was collected... Auschwitz is liberated by the Russians and the Russians liberated several other camps as well and the odd thing is is once the war is over those camps were used by the Russians to get rid of political opponents and included lots of communists from other parts of Europe... Stalin is an equal opportunity mass murderer. He killed as many if not more people and Hitler did, it's just that Hitler had a specific hit list. In the case of Stalin it was anybody who was disloyal and that included just about anybody that would come into play

Holocaust Readings:
You had the Commandant's wife who collected tattoos and made them into lamp shades and book covers and all sorts of other things after they were removed from the prisoners' bodies... You know the old joke was that you know that if given the choice of being thrown in with a pile of wild dogs and a bunch of humans in a difficult situation you'd take the dogs because you know exactly what they were going to do

The Fall of Prussia:
Hitler claimed that the German people were the reason for the fall of the third Reich because they were unworthy and incapable of fulfilling the great historic mission... Although Goering committed suicide shortly before his execution he was still hanged with the other eleven in October of 1946... Stalin thought it was ridiculous to have a war crimes trial. He simply said just take him out and shoot him... one of my roommates in college who adored Adolf Hitler and listened to his speeches even though he didn't understand a word of German. Actually wore a German officer's uniform to class on Halloween and did all sorts of stuff. You know he used to, we used to get him drunk and he'd say: well you know I wish I was born so I could have fought for the Fuhrer and we would say yeah we do too because you'd be dead

Links - 24th September 2017 (2)

Time passes more slowly for flies, study finds - "Flies avoid being swatted in just the same way Keanu Reeves dodges flying bullets in the movie The Matrix – by watching time pass slowly... Generally the smaller an animal is, and the faster its metabolic rate, the slower time passes. The evidence comes from research into the ability of animals to detect separate flashes of fast-flickering light."

Why young-adult fiction is a dangerous fantasy - "I’ve drafted an outline for a bestselling young adult novel. It features a transgender school dropout with autism who meets a self-harming vampire with a heart of gold, hell bent on bringing peace to the world. Together they embark on a magical quest to find an ancient crystal with the power to render all weapons useless. Oh, and the protagonist’s mother makes a living selling legal highs to illegal immigrants."

Election Cake: A Touch of American Culinary History - "Election Cake is a traditional cake historically served at the time of mustering or elections in early America. It is a sour-leavened caked sweetened with unrefined cane sugar, molasses, dried fruit, brandy, white wine and spices"

Amazon AI Designed To Create Phone Cases Terribly Malfunctions, Fills Store With 31,000+ Hilarious Products - "My Handy Design, whose creator is still unknown, was a bot programmed to fetch frequently searched images, turn them into iPhone 6 cases, and put them up for sale. The bot's algorithm somehow went rogue, however, and began scouring images so bizarre that we can only assume they came from the darkest, most depraved corners of the Internet. Whoever set this thing loose is either nursing a giant migraine right now, or rolling on the floor laughing."

Tube to change 'ladies and gentlemen' announcements - "London Underground staff have been told to say "hello everyone" in an effort to become more gender-neutral. TfL said the move was to ensure all passengers felt "welcome"."
What if someone gets triggered by the informality?

How I lost my 25-year battle against corporate claptrap - "Over the past two decades, two things have happened. Business bullshit has got a million per cent more bullshitty, and I’ve stopped predicting a correction in the marketplace. I’m 110 per cent sure there won’t be one... Over the years, Mr Schultz [of Starbucks] has consistently proved just how bad language serves business people well. So when an analyst asks if you are going to acquire anything, you can either say no, which is a bit too bald and clear, or you can say 34 words instead, as he did a few years ago: “I would say that we have enough to digest in the near-term, and there’s nothing candidly in our sightline that would suggest that we’re involved in engaging anything that we’re going to acquire.” Bingo. The audience will be so bored, you will never get called to account... EY got rid of a number of partners by sending a message around saying “we look forward to strengthening our alumni network”... Over the years, Toyota has renamed the car a “sustainable mobility solution”; Amazon has called the book a “reading container”; Speedo has rebranded the swimming cap a “hair management system” and a Nestlé bottle of water has been described as an “affordable, portable lifestyle beverage”"

Photographer in bizarre selfie court battle reveals that being sued by a monkey has left him broke - "It was meant to be a harmless selfie, designed to highlight the plight of the endangered crested black macaque. But British photographer David Slater, who is at the centre of a bizarre court battle of the now infamous “monkey selfie”, has revealed that being sued by a monkey has ruined his life and left him completely broke. The 52-year-old from south Wales, who specialises in wildlife and conservation photography, said he has been left penniless after years of legal wrangling over whether he or the macaque owns the copyright of the picture. Mr Slater, who couldn't even afford a flight to America to be at the court hearing on Thursday, said that he is considering giving up his career as a photographer, and becoming a tennis coach or a dog-walker instead."
PETA ruins lives

The Lies of Donald Trump's Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas - "Some of these claims are downright fake, entirely fabricated by unreliable or dubious web sites and presented as satire, or otherwise blatantly false. But the rest — some of which have gained significant traction and credibility from otherwise serious people and organizations — provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and preoccupations of the broad anti-Trump movement known as “the Resistance,” whether they were created by critics of the President or merely shared by them. Generally speaking, we discovered that they are characterized and driven by four types of errors of thought:
A lack of historical context or awareness
Cherry-picking of evidence (especially visual evidence)
A failure to adhere to Occam’s Razor — the common-sense understanding that the simplest explanation for an event or behavior is the most likely."
Is Snopes now an unreliable, alt-right, fake news site for exposing lies about Donald Trump?

Government portal may lead to contractors cutting corners: Contractor on viaduct collapse - "GeBIZ’s practice of posting the prices of all bids entered and the price of the winning bid for each contract online may lead contractors to cut corners as it has been revealed that the lowest bids overwhelmingly wins job"

'Africa should stop blaming history for its economic problems' – is Obama right? - "Barack Obama has told African leaders to stop “making excuses” for ongoing economic problems in their countries, and to look for solutions within rather than blaming the past"

Why these professors are warning against promoting the work of straight, white men - "Academics and scholars must be mindful about using research done by only straight, white men, according to two scientists who argued that it oppresses diverse voices and bolsters the status of already privileged and established white male scholars. Geographers Carrie Mott and Daniel Cockayne argued in a recent paper that doing so also perpetuates what they call “white heteromasculinism,” which they defined as a “system of oppression” that benefits only those who are “white, male, able-bodied, economically privileged, heterosexual, and cisgendered.” (Cisgendered describes people whose gender identity matches their birth sex.) Mott, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Cockayne, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, argued that scholars or researchers disproportionately cite the work of white men, thereby unfairly adding credence to the body of knowledge they offer while ignoring the voices of other groups, like women and black male academics. Although citation seems like a mundane practice, the feminist professors argue that citing someone's work has implications on his or her ability to be hired, get promoted and obtain tenured status, among others... A Campus Reform writer said she asked the researchers whether the disparity in citations is simply because there are more men than women in the field of geography"
Research is oppressive!

Women’s issues are different from trans women’s issues, feminist author says, sparking criticism - The Washington Post - "Adichie’s comments sparked outrage over the weekend among transgender people and transgender rights activists, who insisted that “transgender women ARE women” and disputed the idea that transgender women in general experienced privilege before transitioning."
Maybe when you transition you are purified of your privilege like in baptism - except that this affects history too (as per the trans practice of erasing history and pretending your old self never existed)

Kellyanne Conway’s uniquely feminist opposition to feminism - The Washington Post - "“It's difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion, in this context,” she said. “And I'm neither anti-male or pro-abortion.” Conway then offered her own brand of feminism, which stands almost diametrically opposed to how liberals have come to define it: “There's an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices. … I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances. That's really to me what conservative feminism, if you will, is all about.”... 57 percent of conservative women said feminism unfairly blames men for women's problems, and 60 percent blamed the choices women make more than discrimination for keeping women from achieving full equality."

Why Is Evergreen College Insane? Look At Its Course Catalog - " Students at Evergreen receive narrative evaluations instead of grades to preserve their self-esteem. Evergreen says this approach allows professors to take stock of student performance as a whole. Students also get a say in the grading process. Evergreen offers a course titled, “The Meaning of Life Through Science and Spirituality” that focuses on climate change, peace, and social justice in the search for life’s purpose. “Dancing Molecules, Dancing Bodies” uses dance to communicate with the body to understand the chemical processes within... Physics courses include “Defending Mother Earth: Science, Energy and Native Peoples“."

The Evergreen State College Implosion: Are There Lessons To Be Learned? - "he was branded a racist and an obstructionist. A faculty member who sat on the Equity Council explicitly called him a racist in two different faculty meetings. When Professor Weinstein asked for an opportunity to defend himself, he was told that a faculty meeting was not the appropriate venue for such a defense. When he asked what the appropriate venue was, he was told that no such venue existed because he was a racist. Neither the president nor the interim provost interceded to make it clear that leveling such charges against a fellow faculty member was unacceptable within the college community. When Professor Weinstein spoke privately with both of those administrators about these incidents, they both acknowledged the inappropriateness of the behavior but each said that it was the responsibility of the other to do something about it. Neither administrator took any public action in response... When the validity of that foundation was called into question, including by a robust analysis by an Evergreen alum currently in graduate school, the same faculty member who publicly called Professor Weinstein a racist began attacking scientists generally claiming that their reliance on data was dismissive of the concerns of students. President Bridges, upon being presented with the alum’s statistical critique, promised a response but none has been forthcoming... This student, himself a student of color, went to the campus police department to file a complaint against the two students he said assaulted him. The police began an investigation later that evening and one of the students interrogated was the leader of the protest that soon followed. Given that one of the complaints raised by the protestors was that the police were targeting certain individuals, black trans students in particular, and given that the students accused of pushing the vice president and accosting the student in the cafeteria were black trans individuals, it seems reasonable to assume that the protests were, in part, designed to deflect unwanted attention for possibly inappropriate actions."
An ex-administrator spills the beans

The Media Brought the Alt-Right to My Campus - The New York Times - "[On Weinstein and Evergreen State College] After I published an essay on Medium to explain the protesters’ side of the story, my full name, phone number and home address were posted online, and I was bombarded with hate-filled messages. I found my name and personal information on message boards, along with rape threats and discussions about which racial slur fit me best (the consensus was the N-word). It took three days to get my personal information taken down, and for others it took longer."
"Leftists - "Offensive speech has consequences."
Also Leftists - "Why is *my* speech having consequences?!"

Evergreen State College Is Having Issues With Roaming Bands of Bat-Wielding Vigilantes - "The school was shut down Monday because of acts of vandalism and window smashing the previous night... Weinstein, the professor at the center of the shit storm, is claiming some students were even hit, but says they won’t report it to the police."

Draining The Higher-Ed Swamp: The Case For Closing Evergreen State College - "Praise should also go to Washington State Representative, Matt Manweller, who recently introduced legislation to defund the school. Manweller finds it “incredibly frightening that the administration at Evergreen would tacitly support Brown-shirt tactics we have not seen since 1930s Germany. That they would allow students to threaten professors and other students based on their race is simply horrifying.” Manweller locates the blame: “The administration bears direct responsibility for this situation. They hired the professors who have elevated the pseudo-science of ‘social justice’ to a religious movement. Now all dissent is crushed by threats of violence or actual violence."... Evergreen issues no letter grades, providing faculty “narrative evaluations” in place of A’s through F’s. In addition, the school promises students that “You’ll write your own self-evaluation” and “you also get to evaluate your faculty, in return.”... With its announcement that liberal education at Evergreen takes its bearings from the requirements of “Social Justice,” the veil drops and the campus’s recent meltdown is seen for what it is: the putting into practice of what Evergreen proudly teaches... Nor is Evergreen alone in transmogrifying its campus into an ideological training camp. A recent study finds that “millennials are most likely to view socialism and communism favorably.” Whereas 54 per cent of baby boomers and 71 per cent of mature adults hold a positive view of capitalism, only 42 percent of millennials are favorably disposed toward it. In place of learning the “Three R’s,” today’s students are trained in the Postmodern Trilogy—Race, Class, and Gender. Looking forward, I ask the reader to consider these tactical instructions from Marx to Social Justice Warriors: “[T]here is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” This returns us to our opening question: Are taxpayers required to subsidize the destruction of their country and way of life?"

State legislators sponsor bills to defund Evergreen State, turn it into private college - "What I see is an institution dedicated to indoctrinating kids into being perpetual victims. We saw videos of students disrupting classrooms, bullying administration, blocking police and intimidating those around them, and the response from the college president was to thank them for it. It is unbelievable"

This is a professor at Evergreen State College : The_Donald - "To my white friends You're on notice If you are not paying me cash money working on an impeachment plan or burning a cop shop to the ground we don't have much to say to each other"

Evergreen State finally tells protesters-two months after melee-their actions were 'criminal' - "A memo emailed Friday from an Evergreen State College administrator to students warned them that aggressively cornering and shouting down faculty, staff and peers and blocking campus exits is actually illegal and future occurrences could result in criminal charges... the school has seen a drop in enrollment and the public institution faces pressure from state lawmakers to clean up its act... The memo does not mention the bat-wielding student vigilante brigade that emerged during the uproar, or the boisterous meeting between students and administrators during which they berated President Bridges."

Evergreen State College Adds Mandatory Workshop on Civil Disagreement

The serene-looking Buddhist monk accused of inciting Burma’s sectarian violence - The Washington Post - "“I think she has seriously miscalculated her response to anti-Muslim violence in Burma,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told GQ. “She has ended up with the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, she hasn’t spoken up for an oppressed and endangered minority, on the other hand, she’s still being attacked by the 969 movement and losing support because there remains a perception that she’s friendly to Muslims.”"

Morality of international trade

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Morality of international trade

[On not inviting Trump to the UK] "It's not as if the Queen has been picky who she's had round to supper in the past. Idi Amin the madman who killed people by the hundreds of thousands is top of an alphabetical list of dictators with whom she has dined. Bashar Al Assad of Syria, Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania, Mobutu who plundered millions from Zaire, Mugabe. None have caused as much fuss as [Trump]...

Is the hoo hah about Trump, like the fuss about selling arms to Turkey or buying oil from the Saudis, part of a modern passion for virtue signalling that comes at the expense of trade, jobs and prosperity?...

People have a right to protest. My problem with what's being done against President Trump is that this is a demonization process based on a great deal of distortion and inconsistencies designed to delegitimize him and frustrate the democratic will of the American people...

Travel to the United States is not a fundamental human right. All sovereign nations have the right to control their borders and Americans have the right to challenge the legality of the ban...

Which has the greater legitimacy?... Here you have a man who has been elected by millions of people... you are saying, you have used the word mobilize. You want to mobilize people onto the streets. You want to use the power of the mob to do what? To force, you use the word force. To force Theresa May to do what? You are usurping the democratic process...

'Name a single terrorist from one of those countries where the ban has been introduced that have killed an American civilian on American soil. Just name one. If you can't do so you have to admit the very premise of your question is null and void'

'I do not admit that at all because terrorists from these countries are killing people all over the world'

'Where have they killed people in America?'

'Well whether they have or not yet killed people in America is not the point'...

When we actually invite the President of the states, it's not the personality we're inviting, it's not the person. It's actually the position...

I think it's strange how many westerners including Britons share this collective delusion that we're collect, direct participants in the US political system. I think it speaks to people's disconnection and alienation from their own political systems...

I don't see this idea of these weird and bizarre protests in provincial British cities about opposing Trump's policies just seem to me to be politically delusional... it's displacement activity.

The policies, there are many more important questions that are more central to British political life than Trump's policies in the US themselves. It's those policies and those issues that should be addressed and should be the uppermost concern in people's minds in the political jurisdiction where they actually have an influence...

What we heard from Owen Jones was 'demagoguery'. I mean this elevated language, this hyperbole. Most detest, one of the most detested individuals on the face of the earth. We heard from Matthew 'deranged narcissist', 'existential threat to the human race'. Giles says he was the most morally ab-, more morally abhorrent than anyone else. I mean we're dealing with a situation in which Donald Trump, democratically elected, is being considered to be an absolute demonic monster on a scale which outranks the tyrants and despots who are murdering and have murdered and killed millions of people. This is, I'm sorry this is a complete disproportionate overreaction...

If the President of the United States thinks that in countries where there is chaos and terrorists and failed states there is a danger that people from those countries could carry out future terrorist events why on earth is it irrelevant, why on earth is it relevant to try and prove that that has already happened?

What the President is trying to do as he says is to look forward rather than steer through the rear view mirror... Owen Jones... about what a great opportunity it was to protest against the British government, against the Tory government. He was there talking about Donald Trump' misogyny. He said he'd been invited too early.

In other words a lot of this apparently had nothing to do with his immigration policy at all. It was a series of prejudices which have been worked up quite a long time ago and a wonderful opportunity to link Trump to the Conservative government which is what he actually wants to protest about...

I don't like aspects of his character, they worry me, but he's being - what I can't stand is this, I mean we're talking about morality, the lies that are being told, the distortions. I mean he's being accused of racism. I have not seen any racism. It's being, racism is being used as a term to describe his concern for the security of his country. That is wicked stuff"

Links - 24th September 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Strange Locations and Free Minds - "[On the father of a student involved in the death of Marshal Khan, the Pakistani student accused of blasphemy and beaten to death by a mob of students on campus] When I tell him about his son's letter and show it to him, he's shocked. So am I. I thought he would be proud. What's wrong, I ask. Bizarrely, he insists the reason he's angry is that the letter is eight pages long. I always told my son to be concise, he says. What's the need to write so much?...
Eating foreign food turned out to be a revelation too. In the 1970s it wasn't unusual to hear it argued in Britain that foreigners enrobed their steaks and joints in strongly flavored sources to disguise its intrinsic inferiority to the meat of the British Isles. That turned out not to be the case either...
Belgium didn't introduce driving licences until nineteen sixty five. And for the first twelve years after that it operated an honor system where you could obtain one simply by swearing an oath that you could drive...
In the early 1980s... one of the strange deals that kept the city running despite the Berlin Wall dividing it, my train would run non stop from one part of the West to another through several sealed-off Eastern stations. They were shabby, poorly lit and patrolled by border guards with machine guns making sure no easterners tried to get on and escape. It was a spooky sight...
[He] was once given the job of suppressing punk. Its anarchic energy seen as especially subversive... he recruited spies with Mohican haircuts and tried to sabotage performances. Young punks he told me were naive. They didn't realise they were being used as informers. Another tactic... was to call up members for military service. Suddenly the band had no musicians... some Evangelical pastors used their churches, which the Stasi were wary of invading, to offer sanctuary to persecuted punks. They performed during church services. 'It was mad... I could see right into the faces of the congregation, who were completely shocked. The only ones laid back about it were the children who jumped up straight away and danced'. This meant more than just momentary freedom. Church spaces for forbidden music later became spaces for political dissent"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Talk of War - "[On Seoul] It's largely achieved this prosperity against the rules. It was colonized by the Japanese, but there's no sense of the victimhood you get in other former colonies...
The Pacific island of Pitcairn was engulfed by a child abuse trial in which around half the adult male population stood accused of rape or sexual assault"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Population Control - "The idea that the planet would be absolutely fine if it wasn't for people is an ugly inhuman doctrine and expression of pessimism in the future of humanity which very very quickly translates from wanting to do without population increase to wanting to do without individual people"

Sony's bio battery turns waste paper into electricity

Economics of the populist backlash - " trade generically produces losers. Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain. Economic theory has an additional implication, which is less well recognised. In relative terms, the redistributive effects of liberalisation get larger and tend to swamp the net gains as the trade barriers in question become smaller. The ratio of redistribution to net gains rises as trade liberalisation tackles progressively lower barriers... Evidence is in line with these theoretical expectations. For example, in the case of NAFTA, Hakobyan and McLaren (2016) have found very large adverse effects for an “important minority” of US workers, while Caliendo and Parro (2015) estimate that the overall gains to the US economy from the agreement were minute (a “welfare” gain of 0.08%). In principle, the gains from trade can be redistributed to compensate the losers and ensure no identifiable group is left behind. Trade openness has been greatly facilitated in Europe by the creation of welfare states. But the US, which became a truly open economy relatively late, did not move in the same direction. This may account for why imports from specific trade partners such as China or Mexico are so much more contentious in the US... the economics profession’s current views on financial globalisation can be best described as ambivalent. Most of the scepticism is directed at short-term financial flows, which are associated with financial crises and other excesses. Long-term flows and direct foreign investment in particular are generally still viewed favourably. Direct foreign investment tends to be more stable and growth-promoting. But there is evidence that it has produced shifts in taxation and bargaining power that are adverse to labour... Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour... It is easier for populist politicians to mobilise along ethno-national/cultural cleavages when the globalisation shock becomes salient in the form of immigration and refugees. That is largely the story of advanced countries in Europe. On the other hand, it is easier to mobilise along income/social class lines when the globalisation shock takes the form mainly of trade, finance, and foreign investment. That in turn is the case with southern Europe and Latin America. The US, where arguably both types of shocks have become highly salient recently, has produced populists of both stripes (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump)."

Kermit the Frog puppeteer 'devastated' to be fired after 27 years voicing Muppets' iconic character - "For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life"

Why Do Good Athletes Have Bad Teeth? - "The 2009 IOC report posited that the prevalence of tooth erosion among Olympians “may be an indicator of excessive use of sports beverages, which are acidic in nature.”"

PAS angling for Chinese, Indian voters who fear being seen as anti-Islam - "Its Youth wing chief, Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi, claimed there was “uneasiness” among the minorities against its former ally DAP for allegedly “attacking” PAS over its president’s attempt to seek harsher penalties under Shariah laws."
Obsession about "Islamophobia" has consequences

Muslim psychiatrist worried about terror apologists on ABC - "the national broadcaster's obsession with perceived Islamophobia was often counterproductive. 'Often the voices they reach for reinforce that because their first instinct is to quell so-called Islamophobia'... 'It keeps feeding the message that none of it is their fault, that the West is in fact against them. 'It's inaccurate and doesn't get to the source of the problem. It keeps feeding grievance, it keeps feeding this idea of Muslim grievance so in that respect it's part of the problem. 'Terrorism is, at its heart, a conflation of personal resentments with a political ideology of resentment which Islamism is'... 'There has been too much promotion of so called moderate voices of Islam who usually turn out be apologists for terrorism, desperate to dilute any link between terrorism and Islam and promoting a message of Muslim victimhood'... 'They use voice after voice of from various religious Muslims, almost all of whom have identical views, that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, Muslims are victims of racism and the real problem is racism and white nationalists.' In the wake of the United Kingdom's third terrorist attack in 10 weeks, Dr Ahmed said the mainstream media and politicians also needed to acknowledge terrorists were following the Koran... 'It's important we don't tarnish all Muslims but people are just so sick of the platitudes and calls for tolerance, for unity and that Muslims are victims when in fact there's a great deal of sympathy in a significant proportion of the Muslim community for the justification of terrorism be it blaming Western colonialism, blaming racism, discrimination... With the rise of One Nation and far-right groups like Reclaim Australia, which call for a ban on Islamic migration, Dr Ahmed said it was inaccurate to blame far-right political parties for Islamophobia. 'Phobia refers to irrational fear of Muslims. It's very difficult to suggest a fear of Muslims and terrorism is irrational in the current climate,' he said. 'The rise of white nationalists comes directly in response to Islamism, not the other way around. 'In no white nationalist text are there calls explicitly to kill their ideological enemies. 'They're channeling a legitimate and widely-held anxiety about Islam and mass immigration'... His call comes after Sheik Tawhidi said unchecked multiculturalism was to blame for the London terrorist attacks that have killed seven people... 'I support a temporary ban on Muslims coming from the Middle East,' he said... The 34-year-old imam said the political Left in the United Kingdom had allowed London to turn into Baghdad. 'The Left wants us to believe that terrorism is the result of unemployment,' he said. 'Since when did humans blow themselves up for not having a job?'"

Maajid Nawaz: Stop Saying Violence Has Nothing To Do With Islam - "Maajid explained why the link must be first acknowledged and then understood. "Why this is so important is because when listeners hear Muslims like yourself say it's got nothing to do with it, they think that you're trying to shirk responsibility and sidestep the very important task that faces all of us to challenge extremism within our mosques and our communities."

Bigotry in the Muslim backyard - "YOU’D think that with all the anti-Islam prejudice us Muslims chafe against, we would be better at recognising and weeding out the bigotry in our own backyard. Apparently not. Last Monday’s (May 1) Yahoo article on the minority Ahmadiyyah community in Singapore drew a flurry of Facebook comments... “there are some within the [Malay Muslim] community… they hate Shia,” said Mr Yusuf Roslan. The 32-year old radiographer, who became Shia about 10 years ago, once overheard a Madrasah teacher praise the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for killing Shia Muslims. Another time Mr Yusuf’s friend was chased out of a mosque near little India when his turbah was spotted. Unlike Sunnis, some Shias rest their forehead on a clay tablet, or turbah, when prostrating during prayers."

Al-Azhar refuses to consider the Islamic State an apostate - "Egypt’s Al-Azhar issued a statement Dec. 11, 2014, refusing to declare the Islamic State (IS) apostates. “No believer can be declared an apostate, regardless of his sins,” it read. Al-Azhar's statement came as a Nigerian mufti seemingly declared IS apostates at a Dec. 4, 2014, Al-Azhar conference... The sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, repeated his rejection of declaring IS apostates on Jan. 1, during a meeting with editors-in-chief of Egyptian newspapers... Al-Azhar representative Abbas Shoman said that the institution had not declared any person or group an apostate throughout its history. Yet, this claim was refuted by the daughter of late Egyptian author Farag Foda, Samar Farag Foda, who called into an Egyptian satellite TV program, saying, “My father’s assassination came as a result of fatwas issued by the majority of Al-Azhar’s sheikhs declaring him an apostate, because he had called for the separation of religion from politics”... Tharwat al-Kharbawy, a Muslim Brotherhood defector, attributed Al-Azhar’s refusal to declare IS apostates to its “faith in IS’ actions”... One press report noted a degree of similarity between IS thought and Al-Azhar University's curriculum, which “allows for killing a Muslim who does not pray, one who leaves Islam, prisoners and infidels within Islam [those who do not have a clearly specified creed or sect]. [It also allows] gouging their eyes and chopping off their hands and feet, as well as banning the construction of churches and discriminating between Muslims and Ahl al-Kitab [Christians and Jews], and insulting them at times.”"
Yet Western politicians (among others) apparently are more versed in Islam than Sunni Islam's most prestigious university, and unequivocally proclaim ISIS are not Muslims

Reserved presidential election casts spotlight on ‘Malayness’ - "Malay community leaders whom TODAY spoke to felt that the definition for the purpose of the election should be inclusive and not too narrow, given Singapore’s multi-racialism and multi-culturalism. “Even though the person may not be 100 per cent Malay but practises its culture, mixes with members of the community and so on, should the person be considered a Malay? Or you want to say, no, and then divide the community further?” said Mr Othman Haron Eusofe, a former Member of Parliament. Political analysts also felt that voters should not be overly-fixated with a candidate’s ethnicity – albeit being an election reserved for a particular race – as it would “detract from the raison d’être of the elected presidency and of the elected president as a symbol of our multiracialism”, as Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan put it... Dr Mustafa pointed out: “The beauty and strength of the Malay race has always been its unity in diversity with regard to customs, practices and everyday living. The kinship ties between the various communities in different countries, particularly in the Southeast Asian region known as the Nusantara, is what defines Malay as a collective ethnic group.”"
Apparently Bock Block is worth stoking racial tensions for. Then again that ultimately justifies repressive rule, so

The purge of a report on radical Islam has put NYC at risk - "it censored an anti-terror handbook to appease offended Muslims, even though it has accurately predicted radicalization patterns in recent “homegrown” terror cases. Rank-and-file NYPD officers, detectives and even intelligence and counterterrorism units are officially barred now from referring to the handbook or the scientific study on which it was based. Former law-enforcement officials fear its removal as a training tool may be hurting efforts to prevent terrorist activity, such as the vehicle-ramming attacks plaguing European cities... The authors of the report, led by Mitch Silber, former NYPD director of intelligence analysis, examined hundreds of “homegrown” terrorism cases and found that suspects followed the same “radicalization” path. Key indicators include: alienating themselves from their former lives and friends; giving up cigarettes, drinking and partying; wearing traditional Islamic clothing; growing a beard; becoming obsessed with Mideast politics and jihad; and regularly attending a hardline mosque. In other words, the more they immersed themselves in their faith, the more radical they grew... The terrorists who carried out recent attacks in Boston; Fort Hood, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; San Bernardino, Fla.; Orlando; Philadelphia and at Ohio State University, among others, followed a similar pattern of radicalization... As the NYPD study found, “The ultimate objective for any attack is always the same — to punish the West, overthrow the democratic order, re-establish the caliphate, and institute Sharia,” or Islamic law. “The radicalizer is Sharia, not the Internet,” said Philip Haney, a former Homeland Security counterterrorism analyst"
Once again, political correctness kills

How to Look at Homegrown Terrorism - "The report, entitled "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat," makes several important and underappreciated points.
— There is no useful profile to predict who will become radicalized. Most would-be terrorists are "unremarkable men" living "unremarkable lives." They don't have criminal histories, and they don't always gather at mosques.
— They do, however, follow remarkably similar behavior patterns. Participants in 11 anti-Western terrorism plots analyzed in the report all went through four stages on the path from unremarkable to violent: Pre-radicalization, Self-identification, Indoctrination and Jihadization...
"It's remarkable to me that one of the first public reports on radicalization to get it right came from a police department," says Chris Heffelfinger, a counterterrorism expert with the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point... By afternoon, American-Muslim organizations had issued press releases criticizing the report."

Donald Trump Twitter Lawsuit: Why I'm Suing the President - "Most of my writing is about the Trump administration. In fact, my mandate from Pacific Standard is “Trump and the law.”... Twitter also brought me to where I am today: Pursuing a lawsuit with others against President Trump for his decision to block us on Twitter"
If I write about celebrities and they block me can I sue them?

Family Planning Aid to Developing World—a Form of Western Imperialism - "The U.N. also makes a tricky distinction between “modern” and “traditional” methods of family planning to inflate the “unmet need.” When “traditional” methods, such as periodic abstinence, are counted, since the “need” of many of these women has been satisfied, the size of the unmet need falls drastically, by over 80 million, according to a 2015 U.N. calculation. The use of “unmet need” figures is irresponsible. The statistic refuses to acknowledge legitimate reasons for choosing to avoid pregnancy without the use of contraception. As Harvard economist Lance Pritchett has written, “The usual numbers bandied about for estimates of ‘unmet need’ do not correspond to any definition of ‘unmet need’ that any economist (or just common sense) could agree to.” They are “an advocacy tool,” he concluded, “not particularly relevant to conceptually or empirically informed discussions.” This sort of dishonesty, shielding controversial assumptions behind statistics from reputable organizations, is all too common. In 2015, Melinda Gates and Graça Machel, the former South African first lady, wrote that “if the world extended contraceptive access to only a quarter of the women with an unmet need, it could save the lives of 25,000 women and 250,000 newborns each year.” They cite the 2012 Guttmacher and UNFPA report, which estimates that by averting pregnancies, fewer women and children will die in childbirth. As Rebecca Oas explains, “their solution, apparently, is to avoid pregnancy rather than to make childbirth safer.” These Malthusian tendencies also dovetail with the efforts of the environmentalist movement"

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Links - 23rd September 2017

Are White People Squeamish About Race Discussions?, episode #159 of Question of the Day - "'We did standup shows in all these kind of red states... The best thing that happened was that we got to the point in having conversations with regular Americans in Birmingham or Columbus, Georgia or wherever we were where people could say, ask me the question: why do you call yourself Iranian-American? Why can't you just call yourself American-American? That kind of question I think is considered racist or a faux pas or whatever. I think that's a great question. But there's a lot, there's a lot of fear embedded in making, in asking those kinds of questions'
'So do you think if you'd done that same exact show in a real blue state or a blue city, you're saying that people wouldn't have been willing to ask that kind of question?'
'I think maybe it would've been too sensitive. You know and they would want to be culturally appropriate and all of that stuff. And I think what's happening is we're not answering earnest sincere questions that white people might have about race and ethnicity and so as a result I think it leads to Donald Trump'...
'New York City, look. My relatives, your relatives... when my relatives came into the country, they were about as low as you could go. It was one barely-literate poor Jewish guy who left his family in Poland and came here to, you know it's the standard thing. But there was a period in America and there's still very much in most ways that same environment where you would be maybe discriminated against, maybe cheated, maybe ridiculed but you had a chance to make it happen. And I think in order to continue that effort collectively we need to have conversations that are harder now to have when frictions are so high that many or most well-meaning white people are scared to say anything. That's my feeling... I want to be more comfortable than I am [talking about race]'"

Free Mouse Auto Clicker - "Free Mouse Auto Clicker is a software that can free you from repeat mouse click work. It's simple but enough for normal use"

Collingwood's Sircuit Bar wins right to ban women - "A GAY venue in Collingwood has won the right to ban women to ensure its patrons are not subjected to attempts by predatory females to turn them straight... Other gay venues have had less success in banning patrons. Last year the Peel Hotel in Collingwood lost its right to ask people their sexuality before they were allowed to enter."
Is this misogyny? Is overturning this homophobia?

Hudson’s Bay Company policies set stage for modern environmental struggles - "Simpson acted to squelch competition from American traders who could legally operate in what was then called the Oregon country. One of his main concerns was creating a buffer to protect the company’s richest beaver-trapping operations in the interior of British Columbia. To keep Americans at bay, he set out to create what other historians have described as a “fur desert” in the Snake River Basin. This involved trapping as many animals as possible to make the area unprofitable to American trappers. Simpson’s strategy worked, but decimated the beaver population."

Marvel's New Ironheart Is Named After Porn Movie - "A 15-year-old is donning the Iron Man suit and will be called Ironheart. Apparently Joe Quesada came up with the name. The problem is that there is already an Ironheart out there -- it's a Japanese Iron Man porn parody... Hey, and the two covers looks the same, too. I think the bigger question is why would Tony Stark let a 15-year-old girl fly around in essentially what is a weapon of mass destruction? Yeah, that makes sense."

Social Justice RPG - YouTube - "Don't forget to check your Privilege stats."

Theranos and the Dark Side of Storytelling - "Consider the medical technology company Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes, which seems to be reaching the end of an epic flameout. Following a long stretch of fawning coverage from business and technology journalists, The Wall Street Journal reported in October 2015 that the company’s flagship blood-testing technology was a near-total failure. This month, investors accused Theranos of running a long con... Theranos—a company once valued at $9 billion—got as far as it did mainly on the strength of “a preternaturally good story.” Holmes constructed an inspiring hero narrative starring herself—a precocious girl-genius who, at nineteen years of age, began pioneering medical technologies that could potentially save millions of lives around the world. Despite abundant warning signs, and despite the Silicon Valley company’s refusal to provide real evidence that their technology worked, journalists didn’t skeptically evaluate Holmes’s story—they simply repeated it. They told and re-told Holmes’s story until she began to seem less like an actual person, and more like a living symbol—of progress, of innovation, of female empowerment... To put it positively, good stories—fictional or not—make us more open minded. To put it negatively, they make us a lot more gullible. This is the reason, as explained by the science journalist Maria Konnikova in her book The Confidence Game, why a powerful, emotion-drenched story is at the heart of every con job. And it’s also the reason that academic journals exclude storytelling technique from scientific reports. Scientists understand that storytelling dials up emotion and dials back rationality, clouding objective analysis."

Changes to elected presidency: MP Joan Pereira suggests reserving election for Eurasians
Identity politics means everyone wants something

Scientists Accidentally Discover Efficient Process to Turn CO2 Into Ethanol - "this conversion process could be used as temporary energy storage during a lull in renewable energy generation, smoothing out fluctuations in a renewable energy grid."

Bollywood Power Rangers. Maybe 1980's or 1990's. : OldSchoolCool

“It’s not just big data. It’s for the good of humanity.” - "Three co-workers wanted their company to support World Community Grid, but they knew they’d need to convince many people to make their vision a reality. Here’s how they did it. Each year, employees with SILCA (one of the information technology and services arms of Crédit Agricole, an international bank based in France) are invited to submit proposals for new company initiatives at Crédit Agricole’s Innovation Week. In 2015, a small group at SILCA presented a carefully crafted proposal to run World Community Grid on company computers. Their proposal led to a successful pilot project, and eventually a wide-scale implementation that currently includes more than 1,200 computers."

The Myth (and History) of the Cocktail Umbrella

'Breastfeeding bullies' keep up campaign that 'breast is best' - "So-called "breastfeeding bullies" have been shaming moms on social media for years. It's easy to find their comments online, on message boards or on parenting blogs. "Formula-feeding is selfish," reads one. "Moms who formula-feed are lazy," says another. The death of a B.C. woman suffering from postpartum depression is drawing more attention to the issue after her husband recently posted a statement on Facebook about her depression — and her anxiety over breastfeeding... it's the "smugness" and the "moral self-righteousness" of breastfeeding advocates that gets to her. "My experience has been that women are pushing back against the established dogmas around breastfeeding and insisting on their own right to choose now," she says."

Japanese businessman reunites with elusive Singapore girl after 40 years - "Seven members of Ms Chua's family, including her husband turned up to meet Mr Isoda... Ms Chua's daughter told Wanbao that she knew her mother was beautiful when she was young, but never guessed that someone would hold a torch for her for 40 years. "Mum told us how she had many suitors in the past, but we thought they were just stories""

Bad news for gym bros: Lower sex drive linked to intense workouts - study - "A new study from the University of North Carolina has found that men reach a ‘tipping point’ after which they are too tired or just not in the mood to have sex."

SR Nathan: When people sing the national anthem, they are singing to me - "At the same time, SR Nathan lamented the lack of executive powers in the Singapore presidential role and the only time he actually fulfill his role was when he allowed the ruling party PAP government to spend S$4.9 billion from the national reserves in Jan 2009 when the government went into a budget deficit."

Are good reasoners more incest-friendly? Trait cognitive reflection predicts selective moralization in a sample of American adults - "We contrasted social violations that are intrinsically harmful to others (e.g., fraud, thievery) with those that are not (e.g., wearing pajamas to work and engaging in consensual acts of sexual intimacy with an adult sibling). Our key hypothesis was that more reflective (higher CRT) individuals would tend to moralize selectively — treating only intrinsically harmful acts as genuinely morally wrong — whereas less reflective (lower CRT) individuals would moralize more indiscriminately. We found clear support for this hypothesis in a large and ideologically diverse sample of American adults. The predicted associations were not fully accounted for by the subjects’ political orientation, sensitivity to gut feelings, gender, age, educational attainment, or their placement on a sexual morals-specific measure of social conservatism"

UCLA Student Body Drops Term 'Illegal Immigrant' - "“[T]he racially derogatory I-Word endangers basic human rights including the presumption of innocence and the right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” the resolution reads. It continues: “Human beings need to be central in immigration discussions in order to move toward a more civilized and humane tone in public discourse and policies on immigration”... The Associated Press removed the term “illegal immigrant” from its style guide in April, marking a major shift in how the U.S. news media writes about the undocumented. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and immigrant rights activists have long contended that the term is inaccurate and offensive because it criminalizes the people described rather than their actions. "
Wut. Can we still call criminals criminals?
"Undocumented" just makes it sound like people lost their papers

Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna - "New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change... Miller said the extinction may have been caused by "imperceptible overkill." A 2006 study by Australian researchers indicates that even low-intensity hunting of Australian megafauna - like the killing of one juvenile mammal per person per decade - could have resulted in the extinction of a species in just a few hundred years."
So much for the myth of the noble savage and living in harmony with nature

Steve Heard's answer to Are the Japanese as honest as many people have claimed? - Quora - "One of my vendors in Kyoto developed a lo-jack like system to track cars. They were unable to market it in Japan because who would take someone else’s car?
This applies to money and property. Relationships are a different matter. To sell a cell phone in Japan it must have a “mistress mode”. Some contacts are deemed secret and do not show up in call logs, phone directory, etc. without entering a password known only to the phone’s owner and presumably not to their spouse."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, The missile that changed the game - "The idea of relocating migrants, spreading them out more equally across the European Union was the idea of taking pressure off Italy and then Greece as well. But these are people who are seen as vulnerable people: they're refugees, asylum seekers or those who have suffered abuse. When we're looking at those arriving in Italy that primarily is not the case. The issue that Italy is dealing with is predominantly young men who are looking for a better life, mainly from West Africa. Also though we do see from Bangladesh many middle class people as well because they're the only ones who have got the money to then pay the smugglers"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Grenfell Fire: Four weeks on - "We have three pillars of the welfare state: health, education and housing and we may have issues with the health system or the education system but fundamentally it works. But all governments have failed when it comes to the provision of council housing in Britain. We've sold off nearly two million council houses since nineteen eighty under the right to buy. Forty two percent of us you know in nineteen eighty lived in council houses. Now it's only eight percent so there is a stigma"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Katie Prescott - "It's interesting that the sales of online goods in America is half the level of that in the UK which is probably not what most people would expect"

North Korea cites Muammar Gaddafi's 'destruction' in nuclear test defence - "North Korea has defended its latest nuclear test, saying the fate of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya showed what happened when countries forsake their nuclear weapon ambitions"

What’s the Difference between Adamantium and Vibranium? - "While vibranium is the more durable material, adamantium is the more dense material. This means that given the right circumstances, adamantium can potentially cut through pure vibranium. If we had to pit the shield versus the claws, since the shield is a vibranium alloy, not just pure vibranium, it can withstand the attack of adamantium claws."

Power Rangers Movie Easter Eggs

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Vice-chancellor: Education is 'a competitive market' - "When you say it's only a small fraction of the money that goes from fees, it's quite interesting what happens with top salaries. Because the people who are earning the top salaries always say that. But of course the people at the very top are just the apex of the system. In the University of Bath, in the information I was sent by staff and students who are very angry at what's been happening at Bath, it shows that there are 67 top managers in the University of Bath who earn over 100,000 pounds"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Building A Better Future - "[On the Seychelles] People often tell me that the police say they don't arrest people for fear they'll be accused of victimizing opposition voters"
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