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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Past material on slippery slopes in action

The Failure of Liberal Bioethics - NYTimes.com - on IVF and other related technologies

Gay marriage:
The slippery slope of gay marriage has begun - On Utah's anti-polygamy law being struck down due to gay marriage being legal (and more of gay marriage's own slippery slope)

The Volokh Conspiracy - The Slippery Slope to Same-Sex Marriage - On gay marriage and past claims that there would be no slippery slope towards it

Euthanasia:
Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide: the illusion of safeguards and controls

Euthanasia and the Slippery Slope (links)

Links - 24th September 2018 (2)

Army Ants Attack Wasp Nest By Building Giant Hanging Bridge With Their Bodies

The Case for Sustainable Meat - "From Pimental’s total, we can calculate that such a cow uses over 12 million litres of water during its lifetime – equivalent to an acre of land under ten feet of water. But cows typically drink only 50 litres of water per day, which leads to a figure of 200 litres per kilo or just 0.2 percent of Pimental’s value. How did the agronomist create such a monumentally inflated figure? Astonishingly, Pimental included all of the rain that fell on the land on which the beef was reared, ignoring the fact that that rain would have fallen whether cattle were there or not... Another anti-meat statistic is some variation on the claim that it takes 20kg of grain to produce a kilo of beef. This notion hangs on the false assumption that all farms raise animals in feedlots. In the UK, however, cows and sheep spend most of their life on grass... virtually all the grain used for animal feed is grain deemed unfit for human consumption, either because it was spoiled or contaminated... As well as providing meat for human consumption, cows, sheep and pigs produce leather, wool, grease, blood and bones in substantial quantities which are used for a huge number of industrial processes, including making fertilisers for organic farming and even – for a brief time at least – the new five-pound notes. Almost nothing goes to waste... Ploughing up grassland actually releases carbon from long-term soil stores, which makes the idea of switching from livestock to arable farming look decidedly un-green. Ploughing also increases soil erosion, runoff, and nutrient depletion – all factors that are ignored in the AMPAG narrative... Taking into account the reality of the whole farm cycle as well as human protein needs, New Zealand researchers recently found that in temperate climates dairy farming is actually the most environmentally sound way to feed a population."

Indiana University student triggers scare after mistaking priest for KKK man - "In addition the belt around his waist was mistaken for a whip, prompting one of the residential officers at the university to issue a warning to other students."

uhhhhhhh (video)
Giraffe deep throat

Jessica Price is Not a Martyr For Workers’ Rights – David Cole - "when you publicly advertise yourself as part of a company and then publicly deride a fairly well-known member of that company’s greater community, then you can probably expect that company to retaliate. You may think, then, that this was all very sudden. That if this was the first offense Price had committed, then there should have been discussion, not punishment. What if I told you it wasn’t?... when all is said and done, I believe Jessica Price is a bad person. You do not celebrate a person’s death, period. But even if we were to walk around that statement and argue that certain people’s deaths are worth celebrating (an opinion I do not hold), then John Bain was not one of those people."
Of course the usual "gaming press" is sympathetic to her and blames toxic fans

Extremist Muslim father at New Mexico compound was training kids to carry out school shootings - "The Muslim extremist father arrested at a New Mexico compound with 11 starving children had been training them to carry out school shootings, new legal documents claim. Siraj Wahhaj, 39, was arrested at the compound in Amalia on Friday with his brother-in-law, wife and two sisters"

Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro survives apparent assassination attempt - "Some in Venezuela, however, are questioning the government’s version of events. Firefighters say the incident was caused by a gas tank explosion in a nearby apartment, according to the Associated Press. Some local journalists have backed up the claim, posting photos on Twitter of smoke billowing from the Residancias Don Eduardo apartment building on the street where the apparent attack took place. Rocío San Miguel, a military expert and the head of Control Ciudadano, an investigative website focused on security, said that at least one drone belonged to the military, who lost control of the device inflight. Soldiers then shot it down... “I am alive and victorious,” the socialist president said in a bellicose televised address. “Everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian ultra-right, and that the name of Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack.” A spokesperson for the Colombian president, who leaves office on Tuesday, quickly denied the allegations. “The president is focused on the baptism of his granddaughter and not on bringing down foreign governments,” the official said... Some Venezuela experts raised suspicions about what had actually happened on social media. “The official ‘investigation’ of today’s alleged assassination attempt against president Maduro takes the usual course: begin with the conclusions and work backwards,” Phil Gunson, a consultant with the non-profit Crisis Group, tweeted. “In a country where 98% of crime goes unpunished, government sleuths resolve this kind of case in a matter of hours.” Venezuela, which has the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, has been in economic and political turmoil for several years"

Activated charcoal is an actual detox product, which is why you should avoid it - "Actually using activated charcoal on your teeth, though, could potentially end up damaging your enamel — and, because you’re scouring the protective layer of your teeth right off, the teeth become more susceptible to staining."

Small Dogs Pee Higher to Lie About Their Size, New Study Concludes

Commentary: In the Philippines, the pitfalls of an education aimed at exporting people - "Most people assume that migration occurs when young people are unable to find jobs to fit their training and qualifications. But in the Philippines, a large number of Filipinos actually choose their college majors based on what jobs are supposedly available abroad."

Claire Lehmann on Twitter - "Every time I get a random abusive tweet, I check the bio of the author and lo and behold their pronouns are listed."
Coincidentally, those with funny pronouns always claim to receive abuse and be the victims of persecution

Seth Rogen Apologizes After Being Criticized For Putting A Child Actor In Blackface - "TMZ released images from set showing a stunt-double wearing body padding, a wig and makeup to make his skin tone darker than it naturally was. The boy was a stand-in and stunt-double for child actor Keith L. Williams, who is heavier and has a darker skin tone than the stand-in. Both boys are black, but Keith's skin is darker... The child's father also happens to be a long-time stunt double who was on set. He says he's offended that anyone is making complaints regarding his son and nothing was done outside of what is standard."
I guess the Deadpool 2 diversity death wasn't enough

Belfast airport turns away wheelchair user due to repair kit - "A disabled man was unable to board a flight from Belfast because his wheelchair repair kit was deemed a security risk"
Security as theatre not just doesn't make you safer but has real costs

Lim Biow Chuan made a valid point – awkwardly - "Lim Biow Chuan, made a valid point of how the elderly should keep active and busy. Unfortunately, his argument was couched in an awkward example of his father running a fruit stall... It is commendable that Mr Lim would accept the losses from the fruit stall as long as it could stave off his father’s onset of mental illness. Of course, not everyone can do what Mr Lim did and accept such losses. But that is not the point which actually is this: do everything you can to help your elderly loved ones to stay healthy, whether physically or mentally."
Also: "My mum, about 10 years ago, worked in a coffeeshop as a cleaner. Because she is bored at home. And she asked me, would it embarrass you? I said no, I mean it is a decent job, you want to go and work, I won’t stop you from working. Because if you think it is a decent job, so be it. She is not robbing someone, she is not relying on charity, she wants to work as a coffeeshop cleaner because she gets to do something, she mixes with people, she is happy and I am happy. So now that she is older, she is retired.", i.e. not all old people who are working need the money

Korea’s ‘One a Day Banana’ is Pure Brilliance - "E-mart in Korea is now selling the "One a Day Banana" pack, containing several bananas of different ripeness so that you can eat them over several days"

Leave those kids alone - "teachers across Scotland are all set to have exactly this discussion. Children in Primary One – that’s five year-olds – are to be taught that it is up to them to decide if they are a boy or a girl... If a boy enjoys being a boy and wants to grow up into a man, is that really so bad?"
Sex education class being indoctrination was not a paranoid right wing conspiracy theory after all

A feeling of apartheid in Holland - "The vision of a globalised society, wherein Moroccans, Persians, Eritreans, Scandinavians and Latin-Americans or what-have-you live in the same street, shop at the same stores, and drink at the same bars, presumably in a land of perpetual sunshine is a fantasy so flawed, so objectively failed, that one would have to spend one’s days in an ivory tower, locked away from reality, in order to believe it. The harsh reality in Holland now is that people have their own barbers, their own shopping markets, their own foods, their own places to socialise, their own worlds. They are not comfortable living around one another, and where they are forced to do so by the rental market, they are not comfortable sharing the space. This is not an opinion – this is a fact backed by government research. The latest findings by the Dutch government explicitly state that feelings of mistrust and loss of identity rise in parallel with an increase in societal diversity."

Alex Jones Claims 5.6 Million New Infowars Subscribers Since Big Tech Blacklisting - "Alex Jones claims 5.6 million people have subscribed to his free Infowars newsletter and podcast over the last 48 hours. These 48 hours have been crucial for Jones, as the Big Tech monopolies and left-wing news outlets like CNN and BuzzFeed have joined forces to blacklist/erase Infowars from the public square. Jones and Infowars have had their accounts canceled – have been effectively purged and erased – from YouTube, Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, Spotify, Stitcher, and Pinterest. Even the emailing service MailChimp blacklisted Jones, in what has been a highly effective and coordinated media/Big Tech campaign to silence a vocal Trump supporter... As of now, no tech company has explained why they are blacklisting Jones. While Jones has spread his share of wild conspiracy theories, so has CNN’s Brian Stelter, and so has much of the rest of the media regarding Trump’s non-existent collusion with Russia. CNN’s Jake Tapper repeatedly lies about Trump mocking the handicap of a New York Times reporter and just last week, CNN’s Chris Cuomo spread a wild conspiracy theory about Trump and the number 17."

Cannibal restaurant 'with roasted human heads on the menu' shut down by police - "Police arrested 11 people and closed a restaurant after two human heads wrapped in cellophane were discovered at a hotel restaurant that had been serving human flesh. A tip-off led police to the macabre discovery in Anambra, Nigeria, with 11 people being arrested and AK-47 guns and other weapons being seized."

Desiree Akhavan: ‘The only mainstream queer female stories have been directed by men – it disgusts me’
"Representation" isn't enough. Why even bother?

Where’s the Nearest Starbucks? Sex Differences in Wayfinding - "men rely more on spatial cues like distance and direction when navigating (i.e., they use Euclidean properties). Whereas women are more likely to use landmarks when navigating... It’s not just a couple of studies that demonstrate these sex differences in spatial abilities. Not even just a dozen. We’re talking hundreds... men’s and women’s differences in mental rotation and object location abilities are highly replicable and real... increasing gender egalitarianism was associated with larger sex differences in object location memory... Anthropologists have examined spatial abilities in many other pre-industrial cultures, usually with similar results... In real-world tests of spatial ability, numerous studies have confirmed men’s superior ability at mental rotation (Lawton, 1996). For instance, several studies of parking ability have shown men park more accurately than women... Postma et al. (2012) investigated men’s and women’s spatial memory of their parking place during an incidental visit to a shopping mall. As expected from an evolutionary perspective, women reported more landmarks in their route descriptions than men, whereas men used metric terms more often than women. Men also outperformed women in estimating the exact Euclidean distance to their car. In actually locating their car in the real world, 14% made a substantial detour, most of them women... In one ingenious study, researchers were able to test pre-verbal infants who were only 5 months old using habituation and mirror images. They found male infants, but not female infants, showed the ability to rotate and recognize mirror image objects... Silverman et al. (1999) found among men that mean levels of testosterone are related to mental rotation abilities, but not to other non-navigation related cognitive traits. Other researchers have found similar results (e.g., Kimura & Hampson, 1994). General circulating levels of estrogen, in contrast, appear to improve performance on object memory games, but reduce performance on Euclidean spatial tasks... Experiments in which hormones are manipulated also tend to confirm evolutionary perspectives on sex differences in cognitive abilities. For instance, in a double-blind placebo-controlled study, a single sublingual dose of 0.5 mg of testosterone significantly improved healthy young women’s performances on a mental rotation task... Several studies have found the level of testosterone a girl is exposed to in the womb predicts her subsequent spatial abilities... among bisexual men, Cohen (2002) found the less the men had homoerotic orientations (finding male bodies attractive), the better they did on mental rotation tests"
Testosterone Rex strikes again
Patriarchy must be very powerful since the effects of gender discrimination are visible on 5 month old babies


#MeToo: female spotted hyenas can show us how to smash the patriarchy
???

On the sliming of PJ Thum

Ervin Tan

"In the spirit of media literacy to defend against fake news, I became curious about what PJ Thum submitted to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

Out of 170 papers submitted, PJ was singled out in the Select Committee's report and in the media.

The Select Committee says it gave "no weight" to PJ's views on the basis that he lied about his academic credentials.

As a discerning person trying to avoid being misled by fake news, I went to the source - PJ's paper - so that I could decide for myself whether PJ’s views were nonsense.

If so, I would know not to believe any nonsense in that paper if it arose again in future.

This is PJ's 5-page paper - the one which resulted in a six-hour cross-examination. It can be read within 10 minutes, so if you’re on the train this is an easy read.
https://www.parliament.gov.sg/docs/default-source/sconlinefalsehoods/written-representation-83.pdf (note: link may download the paper automatically)

Starting with the credentials, PJ seems to have studied a lot.

1. Bachelor of Arts from Harvard (2000)
2. Bachelor of Arts (2004), Oxford
3. Master of Studies in Historical Research (2006), Oxford
4. Doctor of Philosophy in History (2011), Oxford
5. Attended Oxford on:
5(a) Rhodes scholarship (2002-2004) and
5(b) Commonwealth Scholarship (2006-2010)
6. Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute NUS (2012-2014)
7. Research Fellow in History and Coordinator of Project Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford (2014-present)

The Select Committee's report alleges that the last position is inaccurately described, since PJ was a "visiting scholar at the Oxford Centre for Global History" and not a Research Fellow. Notably, PJ merely held an "unpaid position" at Oxford.

Now, we know what some people think of unpaid or low-paid work. So I can understand where this contempt for unpaid positions comes from.

The Select Committee has said nothing about items 1 to 6.

While I would not want to undergo surgery if I found out that my doctor in fact is a vet, I would still give weight to what a historian with PJ’s academic credentials has to say.

Wearing again a media literacy hat, I noted that the Select Committee made much of PJ’s credentials and the way he presented them, and that alone is supposed to discredit PJ’s views.

I therefore wanted to look at PJ’s views. Things PJ said include the following in quote marks (and my thoughts below each quote):

“The term “fake news”, however, has gained common currency across the world in the past year primarily due to U.S. President Donald Trump, whose election was allegedly aided by a Russian campaign to sow disinformation and fear among the American electorate.”

-- Surely this is correct. The Select Committee itself has pointed to disinformation campaigns allegedly conducted by Russia which posed serious threats to the US, Ukraine, etc.

“Fake news” is impossible to define with any reasonable accuracy”

-- I have not found a definition of “Deliberate Online Falsehood” in the Select Committee’s Report, but if anyone sees one do leave a comment.

“Sources [of fake news] are difficult to trace, difficult to prosecute, and domestic legislation will not stop foreign actors outside of Singapore”

-- This is a good point. If the Government is truly concerned about foreign interference, we would see laws that attempt to deal with foreign actors like the Macedonian teens who were paid to write fake news and influence the US elections.

“There is already existing legislation which can address “fake news” / Clause 45 of The Telecommunications Act 1999… Minister of Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam cited this law and acknowledged that the current law had remedies to deal with falsehoods, but argued that it was ineffective…”

-- This is interesting. I was not aware of this law.

“There is clear source of “fake news” which has spread falsehoods, with major impact, and hitherto escaped sanction. That is the politicians of Singapore’s People’s Action Party. The major examples of this are the numerous detentions under the Internal Security Act (ISA, and its predecessor, the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance) from 1963 to 1987… Operation Coldstore was conducted for political purposes, and there was no evidence that the detainees of Operation Coldstore were involved in any conspiracy to subvert the government.”

-- I don’t know enough about Operation Coldstore (1963) save that people were detained without trial, but as someone interested in the founding years of Singapore I would like to find out more about this.

“Given the above, the solution to “fake news” should therefore be to: First, educate Singaporeans to be more thoughtful, critical, and skeptical towards information, regardless of source. This includes: The expansion of media literacy programmes… ”

-- This is sensible. Building media literacy is contained in the Select Committee’s first recommendation (out of 22), even though no weight was given to PJ's views.

“Second, constrain the ability of politicians to spread “fake news” and to increase transparency and accountability within the government. This would require:

· The repeal of the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act 1974, which effectively gives the government control over the media and disempowers the media to speak effectively and independently on information. A greater diversification and independence of responsible media is required to effectively combat “fake news”;

· An increase in transparency, for example through the establishment of a Freedom of Information Act which automatically declassifies all government documents after 25 years [5] unless they are specifically retained;

· The establishment of an independent government watchdog (Ombudsman) with the authority to investigate complaints against the government and censure government officials who mislead the public.”

-- These are interesting recommendations, and worthy of consideration and debate. In particular, the history of the NPPA and its effects in terms of who has the power to own and control media in Singapore is interesting and should be made widely known as part of any good faith commitment to media literacy.

Having actually read PJ’s paper, I can’t help but wonder:

1. Of all of PJ's views in his five-page paper, the focus is on the alleged “lie” about being a research fellow instead of a visiting scholar. Why not simply point to the *substance* of his paper and criticise it? The Select Committee did precisely this in respect of another written representation: “The Committee decided not to publish the written representation by Mr Alex Tan, being of the opinion that it was not made in good faith. It contained personal insults, irrelevant comments and sarcastic proposals.” (para. 15, Report of the Select Committee). This tells us in plain words what is wrong with the substance of Mr Alex Tan’s written representation.

2. If the detentions under Operation Coldstore were all justified because the detainees were part of a conspiracy to subvert the government, why not say that plainly? The Select Committee’s Dr. Janil Puthucheary is particularly well-placed to speak about Operation Coldstore since his father Dominic Puthucheary was one of the detainees of Operation Coldstore.

3. To give no weight to PJ’s paper because of his credentials (or lack thereof) suggests that if a different person repeated the content of the paper, we can give weight to the content. This is consistent with thought #1 above. But is PJ’s real offence his forceful questioning of the true nature of Operation Coldstore?

4. What does the Select Committee think of the Russian MFA’s 1-page submission: https://www.parliament.gov.sg/docs/default-source/sconlinefalsehoods/written-representation-169.pdf.…

5. Does the use of state power to whack a citizen in this ugly way trouble anyone at all? Since PJ submitted his paper to the Select Committee, he has repeatedly been attacked while the substance of his paper has been overlooked. Are these the standards of decency and debate to which a 53-year old democracy holds itself – or should we do better and look to some of the most well-paid politicians in the world to lead by showing what mature, decent and thoughtful public debate looks like? Might it not assist the Government’s case on the legitimacy of Operation Coldstore by releasing papers from 1963 – papers which are 55 years old and which are unlikely to pose any threat to national security in 2018 – so that the public can decide for itself? Do we believe that the efforts to educate a population for the past 53 years have produced a discerning and fair-minded population who could be trusted to look at the relevant documents about Coldstore, and form their own view about whether detainees were involved in a conspiracy to subvert the Government?"

Links - 24th September 2018 (1)

Alumnae Of Christine Blasey Ford's High School Circulate Letter Of Support - "“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story,” says a draft letter from alumnae of Holton-Arms, a private girls school in Bethesda, Maryland. “It demands a thorough and independent investigation before the Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.” The women also say that what Ford is alleging “is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”... "I grew up hearing stories like hers, and believe her completely.”... She said she was 15 when she attended a party where she encountered Kavanaugh, who was 17 at the time. She said Kavanaugh and his friend shut her in a room and turned up the music to hide her protests. Kavanaugh, who was drunk, held her down and tried to remove her clothes. She said that at one point he held his hand on her mouth to stifle her screams. She managed to escape... Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans released a letter from 65 women who said they knew the nominee in high school and vouched for his character, saying he always treated women with ”decency and respect.”... Republicans on the Judiciary Committee put out a statement Sunday reiterating the support Kavanaugh has publicly received and casting Ford’s allegations as part of a political tactic by Democrats."
In other words, "we have no proof of what she is claiming but it sounds good so we support it"

Kavanaugh, Supreme Court Pick, Denies Alleged Sexual Misconduct In High School - "the woman, who did not want to be named, said in a letter that Kavanaugh "attempted to force himself on her" at a party when they were teenagers... All three were minors at the time. The woman declined to be interviewed by the New Yorker... Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released a letter on Friday signed by 65 women who said they knew Kavanaugh in high school and defended his character. The letter noted that the signatories included women from "a broad range of political views."... Feinstein called a meeting on Wednesday at which she disclosed the contents of the letter to committee Democrats, but did not show the letter itself... "Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators—including with Senator Feinstein—sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new 'information' about him"... an extensive background check was already completed by the White House and reviewed by the committee... Kavanaugh has completed six FBI background checks between 1993 and 2018, and that Feinstein, who obtained the letter in July, did not raise the issue during the hearings or attend a closed session on the nomination where the information could have been discussed"

Trump defends his Supreme Court nominee, wants accuser to testify - "A former classmate of Kavanaugh denied attending the party where the assault allegedly occurred. Patrick J. Smyth sent a letter to Grassley and top committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein, denying seeing any "improper conduct" by Kavanaugh, a classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, according to CNN, which obtained a copy of the letter. "I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as 'PJ' who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post," Smyth said in his letter, CNN reported. "I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has levelled against Brett Kavanaugh.""

Escape the Echo Chamber - "Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers announced yesterday that she wants a FBI investigation into her claims before she testifies. Ford made an accusation of a non-federal crime committed by a minor 36-years-ago. She couldn’t name the year and she could not name the location. The one witness she said was there claims no knowledge. She also doesn’t have names of the other people in the house. If every word of what she says is true, what is the FBI supposed to do? A fair interpretation of this is that this is a delaying tactic. I suspect the special hearing will be held on Monday and Ford will attend. If she doesn’t, that works to Kavanaugh’s advantage. His supporters can claim she refused to testify under oath"

John Hawkins on Twitter - "Hello, FBI? We need you to investigate a sexual assault allegation? Oh, that's a police matter? Still. When was it? Roughly 36 years ago? The actual date? No idea. The location? Not sure. What do we know? There were either 2 or 4 people in the room. Hello, hello? Did you hang up?"

Accusation Against Kavanaugh Is Exactly Why Men Should Be Leery of #MeToo Movement - "One of the tricks liberals love most is taking something that is as close to universally despised as humanly possible, like racism, police shooting innocent people, or rape, and then declaring that they are bravely against it while their opponents are for it. To provide evidence for their gaslighting, they redefine the terms they’re discussing in the most dubious and polarizing ways imaginable. “Oh, you’re against disrespecting the flag?” Then you must want black men to be shot by the police! “Oh, you’re not in favor of tearing down historical statues because the owners had slaves?” Then you must hate black people! “Oh, you don’t believe EVERY rape accusation made against a man?” Then you must be pro-rape... we have Brett Kavanaugh, an extremely well-qualified judge with an impeccable reputation who has been vetted by the FBI six times. You don’t get any more squeaky clean than Kavanaugh. Then, at the last minute, after his hearing was over and as he was about to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, Bernie Sanders donor Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanagh had sexually assaulted her... although Kavanaugh’s name does not appear in her therapist’s notes, those notes do say she claimed four men were in the room. Ford now says two men were in the room... she describes 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh acting like a hardened sexual predator. According to Ford, he physically forced her into another room, turned the music up so no one could hear her scream, covered her mouth, pinned her down as she tried to get away, and treated her so roughly she feared he was going to kill her. On the other hand, that’s mixed in with what sounds like playful, drunken horseplay between Kavanaugh and Judge... we have three people categorically denying Ford’s account and she doesn’t seem to know a lot of the basics of her own story. So, it’s an unreliable 36-year-old he said/she said allegation about something that happened between teenagers. Surely, no one could think that an accusation this flimsy should be enough to ruin a man’s life? Right? WRONG."

CONFIRMED: Organizer Vinay Krishnan Who Was Caught Paying Off Kavanaugh Protesters -- Works for Soros-Linked Organization - "several Texas doctors attended the Kavanaugh hearing in Washington DC. After the hearing the doctors told reporter Adam Schindler that they witnessed organized activists with a bag of cash paying the rent-a-mob protesters."

'Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves': US attorney slams accusations that his wife made a controversial hand gesture during Kavanaugh hearing - "US attorney John Bash slammed what he called a “vicious conspiracy theory” that spread on social media after his wife, attorney Zina Bash, was accused of making a hand signal that some people associate with white-supremacy groups. “The attacks today on my wife are repulsive,” Bash said on Twitter. “Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves.” Zina, a former clerk for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was accused of making the gesture on Tuesday, at the start of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for his nomination to the US Supreme Court. Accusers claimed that Zina, who is of Jewish and Mexican heritage and is a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is of an ilk who “literally want to bring white supremacy to the Supreme Court.”... The hand symbol, commonly known as the “OK” gesture, is believed to be affiliated with members of the alt-right, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. But the origin of the symbol is also disputed by the Anti-Defamation League, which describes it as a hoax “to fool liberals and get them to spread such false messages.” The gesture was also spotted when a former White House intern allegedly mimicked the symbol in a group photo with President Donald Trump. The former intern, who is of Jewish heritage, denied any association with “racist white power organizations.”"
So much for conspiracy theories being the preserve of the "right"

How Colleges Teach Students to See Bias Where It Doesn’t Exist - "“You have blood on your hands. You’re a murderer,” shouted one of the protesters at Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate hearings of his nomination to the Supreme Court. This apocalyptic rhetoric had been espoused before — at none other than the Yale Law School, immediately after President Donald Trump announced the school’s graduate as his chosen replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy. There, a group of alumni and professors circulated an open letter declaring that selecting Kavanaugh “presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country.” People “will die” if Kavanaugh is confirmed, the letter announced. By the time of the hearings, Kavanaugh had gone from being a future murderer to an actual one. These protests, intended to shut down the proceedings — and the fantastical social-media charge that one of Kavanaugh’s former clerks displayed a white-power sign during those hearings — showed how academic identity politics is transforming the non-academic world... The key feature of academic diversity ideology is the assertion that to be a member of an ever-growing number of favored victim groups at a college today is to be the target of pervasive bigotry on campus — despite, well, being favored. Taught by a metastasizing campus-diversity bureaucracy to believe that they are subject to an existential threat from circumambient bias, students equate nonconforming ideas with “hate speech,” and “hate speech” with conduct that should be punished, censored and repelled with force if necessary. This victimology fuels the efforts to shut down speech that challenges campus orthodoxies. Dozens of times in the past several years alone, classrooms have been invaded; professors, accosted and even assaulted; and outside speakers, silenced... protesters at Columbia University temporarily occupied a class and accused a professor who is an LGBTQ rights advocate and one of the school’s premier proponents of the idea that campuses are pervaded by rape culture of creating a “dangerous environment for students, including queer students.” That same month, shouting activists prevented University of Oregon President Michael Schill from delivering his State of the University Speech. Schill’s merely pro forma support for free speech was enabling “fascism and white supremacy,” according to the student protesters... In none of these instances were the silencers disciplined. In several of them, the college presidents thanked the anti-speech advocates for their courageous stands. Yale conferred its prize for “provid[ing] exemplary leadership in race and/or ethnic relations” on two of Christakis’s scourges, including the student who shouted, “It’s not a debate.”... The right has its shrill manias— whether the unseemly obsession with Hillary Clinton and her emails, the corrosive Trump-fueled calumny that federal law enforcement agencies have been corrupted by political bias, and the dangerous Trump-induced crusade to turn those agencies into instruments of political revenge. But until now, the notion that silencing non-conforming speech is a legitimate response to disagreement has come overwhelmingly from campuses and other progressive institutions — from Google to the New Yorker. Were Trump to seize the same weapons, arrogating to himself the power to define and punish “hate speech,” the danger of such precedents might become clearer to all."

Study shows Wikipedia Accuracy is 99.5% - "They analyzed articles on drugs, drawing every piece of relevant information, as well as references, revision history and readability. Their conclusion is that the accuracy of drug information on Wikipedia was 99.7%±0.2% when compared to the textbook data. However, even though the articles were very accurate, they weren’t fully complete. Scientists rate the completeness of articles at 83.8±1.5%. However, completeness had a huge variation, ranging between 68.0% and 91.0%. This difference shows that Wikipedia is not always the best resource to draw complete information from, but it always provides over two thirds of the whole story. Furthermore, from the drug information missing in Wikipedia, 62.5% was rated as didactically non-relevant in a qualitative re-evaluation study."

She’s the world’s top empathy researcher. But colleagues say she bullied and intimidated them - "Tania Singer, a celebrated neuroscientist and director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, is known as one of the world’s foremost experts on empathy... Singer, one of the most high-profile female researchers in the Max Planck Society (MPG), sometimes made harsh comments to women who became pregnant, multiple lab members told Science. “People were terrified. They were really, really afraid of telling her about their pregnancies,” one former colleague says. “For her, having a baby was basically you being irresponsible and letting down the team,” says another, who became a mother while working in Singer’s department."
So much for role models for women in science

Vox’s Ezra Klein Defends “Kill All Men” Twitter Hashtag - "Leftists like Klein are only defensive because one of their own was involved. Even falling back on the idea that every -ism and -phobia takes power plus privilege (which is in no way the official definition, just the one used by social justice warriors), how does #KillAllMen not offend more Leftists? In their heads they seem to think it would just mean white men, which is fine and funny to them. But the hashtag would include black, Hispanic, Muslim, Asian, disabled, transgender, and gay men as well — all protected groups by the Left. Does that alter their lack of outrage?"

Canada’s Politicians are in Denial on Terrorism - "Since 2013, Canada has had a series of low level terrorist attacks which have an Islamist connection. Among these have been the attempted 2013 bombing plot on a Via Rail train, the 2014 vehicle attack which killed a Canadian soldier, the 2014 gun attack on the National War Memorial and the Parliament, a 2016 attempted suicide bombing attack which was thwarted at the last minute with only the bomber dying, a 2016 knife attack on a Canadian Forces recruiting centre, a 2016 knife attack in a Canadian Tire hardware store by a woman claiming to work for ISIS, and a 2017 vehicle and knife stabbing attack. Canadians are increasingly wondering about their own Prime Minister. Prime Minister Trudeau stated openly that ISIS fighters returning to Canada would be an asset as they are a “powerful voice for deradicalization.” The Canadian government has no deradicalizaiton program. Prime Minister Trudeau also spoke in Parliament and stated that anyone who opposed the return of ISIS fighters to Canada was “Islamophobic.”... In December of 2015, newly elected Prime Minister Trudeau sent a video message to the Toronto based “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” conference. Observers of this conference know that the conference has morphed into a “who is who” in the world of Islamists in Canada and the USA"

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Links - 22nd September 2018 (2)

Angelina Jolie divorce lawyer Laura Wasser quits - "A new report claims that Jolie, 43, has become so hostile and uncompromising throughout the split that her lawyer Laura Wasser is on the verge of quitting and has “made it known” to Jolie because it’s become too “venomous”."
Too bitter for a divorce lawyer...

As Google Maps Renames Neighborhoods, Residents Fume - The New York Times - "it was suddenly rebranded on Google Maps to a name few had heard: the East Cut. The peculiar moniker immediately spread digitally, from hotel sites to dating apps to Uber, which all use Google’s map data. The name soon spilled over into the physical world, too. Real-estate listings beckoned prospective tenants to the East Cut. And news organizations referred to the vicinity by that term... how Google arrives at its names in maps is often mysterious. The company declined to detail how some place names came about, though some appear to have resulted from mistakes by researchers, rebrandings by real estate agents — or just outright fiction."

From Tokyo to Paris, Parents Tell Americans to Chill - The New York Times - "In much of the world, parents tend to regard such free-range parenting practices as developing a child’s self-reliance. But as a popular Sunday Review article by Kim Brooks, a writer in Chicago, pointed out, many in America see these practices as neglectful"

A Dream Ended on a Mountain Road: The Cyclists and the ISIS Militants - The New York Times - "the couple was biking in formation with a group of other tourists on a panoramic stretch of road in southwestern Tajikistan. It was there, on July 29, that a carload of men who are believed to have recorded a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State spotted them... the Islamic State released a video showing five men it identified as the attackers, sitting before the ISIS flag. They face the camera and make a vow: to kill “disbelievers.” It was a worldview as diametrically opposed as imaginable to the one Mr. Austin and Ms. Geoghegan were trying to live by. Throughout their travels, the couple wrote a blog together and shared Instagram posts about the openheartedness they wanted to embody and the acts of kindness reciprocated by strangers... “You read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” Mr. Austin wrote. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. “I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own … By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.” “No greater revelation has come from our journey than this”"

Ordering The Vegetarian Meal? There’s More Animal Blood On Your Hands - "Published figures suggest that, in Australia, producing wheat and other grains results in:
at least 25 times more sentient animals being killed per kilogram of useable protein
more environmental damage, and
a great deal more animal cruelty than does farming red meat...
This environmental damage is causing some well-known environmentalists to question their own preconceptions. British environmental advocate George Monbiot, for example, publically converted from vegan to omnivore after reading Simon Fairlie’s expose about meat’s sustainability. And environmental activist Lierre Keith documented the awesome damage to global environments involved in producing plant foods for human consumption... When cattle, kangaroos and other meat animals are harvested they are killed instantly. Mice die a slow and very painful death from poisons. From a welfare point of view, these methods are among the least acceptable modes of killing. Although joeys are sometimes killed or left to fend for themselves, only 30% of kangaroos shot are females, only some of which will have young (the industry’s code of practice says shooters should avoid shooting females with dependent young). However, many times this number of dependent baby mice are left to die when we deliberately poison their mothers by the millions. Replacing red meat with grain products leads to many more sentient animal deaths, far greater animal suffering and significantly more environmental degradation. Protein obtained from grazing livestock costs far fewer lives per kilogram: it is a more humane, ethical and environmentally-friendly dietary option."

The $250 Biohack That’s Revolutionizing Life With Diabetes - "A loose confederation of do-it-yourselfers were working on a system that would eventually help link an insulin pump to a glucose monitor and connect both to a smartphone app. The idea was that the wearer—or her parents—could track and adjust her blood sugar, in person or from afar. That would mean fewer pinpricks, and far fewer alarms, because her blood sugar would stay out of the danger zone. Most of the time, the contraption would be able to regulate the wearer’s insulin itself."

Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments - "All of this illustrates that the same severe dangers from state censorship are raised at least as much by the pleas for Silicon Valley giants to more actively censor “bad speech.” Calls for state censorship may often be well-intentioned — a desire to protect marginalized groups from damaging “hate speech” — yet, predictably, they are far more often used against marginalized groups: to censor them rather than protect them. One need merely look at how hate speech laws are used in Europe, or on U.S. college campuses, to see that the censorship victims are often critics of European wars, or activists against Israeli occupation, or advocates for minority rights."
Although the writer gets upset when neutral laws restrict "minorities", he at least accepts that having restrictive laws in the name of "protecting" "minorities" can "backfire" - which is why they shouldn't exist
When liberals cheer Facebook and other social media outlets silencing non-liberals, they forget that parties they favor are also silenced


Cafe deemed racist for putting Union Jack flags on sandwiches
This suggests that it's not a conservative lie that some liberals do hate their countries

The Meme Policeman - Posts - "Openly defying and brazenly disrespecting your president, while hoping that he fails, is not called patriotism... It is called TREASON."
"If you still support Donald Trump and plan to vote for him again, you are a traitor!"
"Well, it’s finally happened. Occupy Democrats has gone full circle with their infamous treason meme! Just 2 years ago, openly defying the president was treason. Now, treason means supporting the president."

Singapore’s slow poison - "All the rationalisation is lost on the people. They see only one thing: We have highly-paid ministers. And we measure their monetary worth against every screw-up or warts. We do not cut them some slack, as Mr Goh would like, because we do not see them as our parents but as chief executives and general managers... I know the argument that the G has for defending their salaries, chief of which is to keep our leaders free from temptation that high office can bring, in other words, money politics and corruption. I would like to think our citizens are made of sterner stuff and our watchdogs far more vigilant than those elsewhere. In fact, I wouldn’t mind paying the watchdogs a lot more to ensure they do their jobs well. And even have caning introduced for corruption convictions! So why not just pay the politicians more you say? Because leadership is not just a “job’’, it is a “relationship’’ built on, yes, trust."

Woman detained in Slovakia for playing Verdi for 16 years - "the woman, identified only as Eva N, played a four-minute aria from Giuseppe Verdi's 'La Traviata' non-stop, in her house with on speakers full blast, from morning until night... a British woman from Walsall was jailed for repeatedly playing Ed Sheeran's Shape of You and causing "a wholly unacceptable level of disturbance""

Jeremy Corbyn and the cynical tactics of the left | Coffee House - "The official response from the Labour party for this story is that Corbyn didn’t know he was the head of the British chapter of this organisation and ‘has asked to be removed’. So there you have it. The Labour party’s line is ‘Might have happened to any of us.’ Though it’s enough to give you pause isn’t it? The ease with which any of us might end up heading the local branch of a Holocaust denial movement... There is the decent option – which is also the hardest. This would consist of sincerely trying to work out why the main party of the British left is now led by a man who keeps turning up in every international anti-Semitic fever swamp. There doesn’t seem like there’s much of an appetite for that option... Thus it is that portions of the left have decided to counter what they regard as the ‘anti-Semitism card’ with the ‘Islamophobia card’... anti-Semitism is a centuries (indeed millennia) old disease, rooted not in facts but in conspiracy-theories, and which in living memory led to the physical annihilation of a third of the world’s Jewish population. Whereas ‘Islamophobia’ is a concept invented by Islamists in the 1990s in order to try to prevent any and all criticism of the religion of Islam... The far-left, meantime, are simply trying to cover for the fact that on an average Sunday it is no longer especially newsworthy that their leader should be exposed as having yet another affiliation with yet another Holocaust denier. A Holocaust denier, incidentally, who chose in adulthood to convert to Islam. Who knows why he might have done that? Or who would dare to speculate?"

Suspect who tried to rob Boon Lay pawn shop is a Bangladeshi who overstayed - "The man suspected of trying to rob a pawn shop while wearing a pink turban is a Bangladesh national who overstayed"

Hungary Bans Gender Studies From Universities - "The government's stance is that the programs have no tangible use and are based on "ideology rather than science," according to a report in Hungarian political magazine Heti Világgazdaság... Bence Rétvári, Secretary of State of Hungary's Ministry of Human Resources, explained the decision by arguing that, while university degrees must have a scientific groundwork to justify them, gender studies are more rooted in ideology than in science, likening the field of study to Marxist-Leninism in that, in his view, it should not be taught at a university-level... The spokesman said that gender studies programs are not sustainable for state-run universities, arguing that they "take away valuable resources from other programs, deteriorating the economic stability of universities.”... Marta Pardavi, -- co-chair at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog organization -- criticized the Hungarian government with an "#academicfreedom" hashtag."
Presumably many of the people condemning this (after first calling it fake news) are in favour of removing Divinity/Theology from universities and are upset at Creationism in classrooms

Hungary to stop financing gender studies courses: PM aide - "Hungary’s government will stop financing gender studies university courses, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Tuesday, marking one of the first concrete steps in a cultural shift signaled last month... Chief of staff Gergely Gulyas cited low enrolment numbers, which he said would be reason enough alone to shut down the courses... ELTE did not immediately comment on the decision on Tuesday. It could not immediately give a total number of enrollees. Last year it planned to enroll 18 students in its master’s program but only 10 applied... CEU said it has 44 students enrolled in a two-year master’s program that offers two degrees, one Hungarian and one American. The Hungarian degrees are now at risk for future enrollees. CEU’s other gender studies students and PhD candidates only get U.S. degrees, which are unaffected."

Viktor Orban moves to ban gender studies courses at university in 'dangerous precedent' for Hungary - "Hungary’s ministry for human capacities said the proposed ban, which would come into effect at the start of the 2019 academic year, had been introduced because employers showed no interest in graduates from the subject."

“What Have We Done?”: Silicon Valley Engineers Fear They've Created a Monster - "Uber kept fares in a perfectly engineered sweet spot: just high enough for them to justify driving, but just low enough that not much more than their gas and maintenance expenses were covered... As the gig economy grows, so too does the danger that engineers, in attempting to build the most efficient systems, will chop and dice jobs into pieces so dehumanized that our legal system will no longer recognize them. And along with this comes an even more sinister possibility: jobs that would and should be recognizable—especially supervisory and management positions—will disappear altogether"

The automated in-car navigator that predated satellites - "The Iter-Auto had map scrolls instead of a screen."

You Are Almost Definitely Sharing Memes Made By Nazis - "Several times, I was told that taking memes from Nazis is kind of like citing philosophy from Martin Heidegger, who contributed widely to fields of phenomenology and existentialism … but was also a Nazi."
Since the left can't meme and since anyone to the right of Stalin is far right, this article is true

Crazy Rich Asians: Michelle Yeoh on how 1980s Hong Kong parties prepared her for role of socialite and glamorous matriarch in film - "“I lived in Hong Kong in the heyday of the 1980s, with all those galas and parties and charity organisations,” she tells the Post. “I’ve seen this world and I understand it. So I thought, ‘what’s so unusual?’”"

Scientists accidentally discover drug that may stop weight gain - "During their experiment they edited out two genes, thinking it would make the mice fat. But despite eating a high-fat diet the mice actually stayed skinny."

Links - 22nd September 2018 (1)

Who Is Fact Checking The Media Fact Checkers? - "In the past, fact checkers tended to focus mainly on debunking urban myths or clearly false claims made by political leaders. But lately, fact checkers have appointed themselves as arbiters of the credibility of news outlets. And now, giant tech companies like Google and Facebook have enlisted these "experts" to weed out "fake news."... The problem is that fact checkers themselves can be unreliable sources for what's true or not. Fact checkers make their own mistakes. They sometimes change ratings based on new information. Or they make determinations based on arbitrary standards that can change from one review to the next. Case in point: PolitiFact called a 2012 Mitt Romney campaign ad its "lie of the year" for a statement about Jeeps being made in China. PolitiFact admitted that the "lie" in the ad was actually the "literal truth." We had firsthand experience with errant fact checks when Snopes published one in April claiming that IBD had "resuscitated" a "false" claim about 3.5 million more registered voters than eligible voters. In fact, we'd published that editorial eight months earlier — as was obvious from the time stamp on the article itself. (It went viral this spring on Facebook.) Snopes later rewrote that section of its fact check — but never acknowledged its original mistake. It also changed the ruling on the underlying claims from "false" to "mixture." Fact checkers also often "check" opinions, rather than factual claims, even though two people can form diametrically opposed opinions based on the same facts. Worse, many media "fact checks" use other media sources to check facts, apparently forgetting that journalists get their facts wrong almost as often as politicians... [they] often seem to spend most of their time trying to debunk claims made by conservatives rather than liberals. Thankfully, Real Clear Politics has stepped into the breach by creating what it calls Fact Check Review. Not only does the site regularly review problematic "fact checks," it constantly updates a database on fact checks published Snopes, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, New York Times, Washington Post and the Weekly Standard. It then rates them based on how often each site checks opinions rather than facts... "It's basically a way for a bunch of reporters with no particular expertise to render pseudoscientific judgments on statements from public figures that are obviously argumentative or otherwise unverifiable. Then there's the matter of them weighing in with thundering certitude — pants on fire! — on complex policy debates they frequently misunderstand." In the end, the best way to judge the veracity of claims being tossed around is to become better informed about the issues, not contract out that job to people who aren't necessarily qualified to do for you."
When partisan hacks do "fact checking"...

Biased Media, Average Americans Not In Sync On What's Important - "Based on recent news, you would be forgiven for thinking that everyone in America is talking about Russia and Vladimir Putin. But it ain't so. Indeed, if you go down the whole range of media preoccupations and biases, you find that average people just don't care about them. That's not just opinion. The Gallup Poll people each month ask respondents to answer the following question: "What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?"... survey after survey show that average Americans believe the media to be both a.) liberal and b.) biased. It's a big reason why the media float near the bottom of nearly every survey of most respected institutions in America. Maybe the media shouldn't be so worried about fake news, but instead about their own irrelevance."

Women finding themselves locked out of corporate Canada’s boys' club in wake of #MeToo - "A lawyer is asked whether a male executive should leave the door open when meeting with a woman. A consultant’s longtime male client will take a meeting with her only if someone else is in the room... leaders in corporate Canada have so far been left unscathed. Still, women in business say they are facing a resulting “chilling effect” on their relationships with male colleagues and supervisors... Toronto employment lawyer Sunira Chaudhri has fielded an increasing number of calls from her corporate clients worried about sexual harassment in their workplace – mostly from those wondering whether they need to change policies around co-ed one-on-one meetings, mentorship, office parties, business trips and dinners... many small- and medium-sized workplaces don’t have the resources to formally train workers and managers around handling sexual harassment or office dynamics. Others, she said, simply don’t have the nerve."
In the world of #metoo, false accusations never happen

Honeytrap spy stole secrets of new RAF jet: Female agent hacked airwoman's Tinder profile to target stealth fighter crews involved in the £9bn F-35 project - "a serving member of the RAF had their online dating profile hacked. It subsequently transpired that the perpetrator then attempted to befriend another serving member of the RAF to apparently elicit comment and detail on F-35"

Women-only network appoints male chairman - "AllBright announced that Allan Leighton, chairman of the Co-operative Group, had taken the role"

Inducing People’s Employers to Fire Them Should Be a Civil Wrong - "In societies lacking functioning legal systems, feuds founded on self-help can descend into vendettas. Jared Diamond in The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? details his experiences in Papua New Guinea, where a driver named Malo accidentally strikes and kills a young boy named Billy. Diamond notes that in Papua New Guinea, drivers are allowed to flee the scene and head to the nearest police station because bystanders might drag them from their cars and beat them to death... While “an eye for an eye” may look bloodthirsty to us now, it was in fact an effort by ancient civilizations to forestall blood vendettas. In other words, the retributive response to an injury should be proportionate to the original injury, and the matter ends once proportionate retribution has been taken. Unlike Malo, the victims of a social media mobbing can’t flee... civil recourse theorists argue one of the aims of tort law is to prevent self-help as much as possible, particularly when it takes violent forms if people feel they’ve been wronged. Instead, courts vindicate the victim’s rights in a public forum. While social media inflames tensions, the law aims to remove emotion and passion from disputes... I could fit into several disadvantaged boxes if I wanted to, but I have spent my life trying to overcome disadvantage, not being defined by it... I’ve received it myself for expressing certain opinions in public, and I’ve recently seen others (both colleagues and friends) receive similar abuse. Entire topics are off-limits for public discussion for me because of the abuse I received in the past. After my experience, several people told me, “We think the same as you do, but we’d never say it publicly.” Goodness knows, many others may have similar doubts to me, but we’ll never know, and in the meantime social policy will be predicated upon a totally different set of assumptions."

Saudi Arabia appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack in a feud over human rights - "Saudi Arabia’s state media on Monday tweeted a graphic appearing to show an Air Canada airliner heading toward the Toronto skyline in a way that recalled the September 11, 2001, terrorist hijackings of airliners that struck the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The graphic warned of “Sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong!” and included the text: “As the Arabic saying goes: ‘He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.'”"

Saudi Arabia crucified a man in Mecca while aggressively calling out Canada over human rights - "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put a man to death on a cross in the holy city of Mecca on Wednesday, while waging a public relations battle to call out alleged human rights violations in Canada... Saudi-owned media blasted Canada for arresting a holocaust denier and other citizens. TV pundits brought up Canada's suicide rate in what appeared as a broadside against the country's way of living."

Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn't

No, women aren’t at risk from men - "The bind for today’s professional feminist is the more power and influence she gains, the harder she needs to work to show that women are still oppressed. Some career feminists get around this conundrum by claiming they are not representing their own interests but selflessly fighting for other women. Apparently, countless hordes of downtrodden women, unable to speak up for themselves, are just waiting for feminists to give voice to their concerns. But as only a small minority of women identify as feminists (estimates vary between a third and seven per cent), the response to all this speaking on behalf of others seems to be a resounding ‘no thanks’. The last resort of the professional, well-paid, powerful feminist, desperate to prove her credentials as a member of an oppressed group, is to allude to violence... Conflating the experiences of women all around the world, and of adult women with children, allows professional feminists to claim suffering by proxy. At the same time, the definition of violence seems to broaden by the day. The internationally agreed definition of violence against women and girls is: ‘Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women [or girls], including threats of such acts.’ In the UK and the US, violence encompasses sexual harassment – which includes winking, whistling and looking at someone for too long. Amnesty International describes women’s experiences of ‘violence and abuse on Twitter’. In 2017, the organisers of a women’s strike against President Trump described ‘the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women’. This is not violence as a physical act, but violence as metaphor. No wonder it is experienced everywhere... we also learn that two women are killed each week by a current or former partner. And here, immediately, is the problem with violence as metaphor. Real violence becomes relativised. When winking and nasty tweets are described as acts of violence, the word is no longer enough to describe acts of physical brutality and murder. Violence has become nothing more than a badge permitting membership of an inclusive feminist club, and this does little to support women who really are in need of help... In presenting women as vulnerable and men as violent, feminists rehabilitate some aged stereotypes that demean both men and women... Inflated claims of violence are used by feminists to justify new laws and increasingly authoritarian interventions into our everyday lives... There is nothing to suggest that rounding up street catcallers will do anything to make life better for women who are suffering from domestic violence, or girls being targeted by grooming gangs, but it will no doubt further justify the salaries, platforms and power given to today’s professional feminists."

Opinion | Among the Abortion Extremists - The New York Times - "this is a case study in exactly the problem establishment editors are trying to address by widening their pool of writers: the inability of contemporary liberalism to see itself from the outside, as it looks to the many people who for some reason, class or religion or historical experience, are not fully indoctrinated into its increasingly incoherent mix of orthodoxies. By this I mean that my pro-choice friends endorsing Williamson’s sacking can’t see that his extremism is mirrored in their own, in a system of supposedly “moderate” thought that is often blind to the public’s actual opinions on these issues, that lionizes advocates for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, that hands philosophers who favor forms of euthanasia and infanticide prestigious chairs at major universities, that is at best mildly troubled by the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium or the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia, that increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form."

France to stop Muslims praying in the street, interior minister says - "Worshippers began praying on the roads in March to protest the closure of a local mosque which was turned into a library... Muslims in a number of towns have resorted to praying in the streets, fuelling anti-Islam sentiment touted by France's Front National (FN)."

Fighting for the right to pray - "They knelt in the road to pray, despite the cold. Four or five hundred young men had left their offices in City law firms and banks on Friday lunch time to come hurrying through the streets of Spitalfields for the salaat al-jumma, the most important prayer of the Muslim week... Even as Allah was praised in Spitalfields, across London in the High Court a judge was ruling that it was unlawful for councils to start meetings with prayer... "Will the next step be scrapping the prayers which mark the start of each day in Parliament? "These legal rulings may also mean army chaplains could no longer serve, and that the Coronation Oath, in which the King or Queen pledges to maintain the laws of God and the lessons contained in the Gospels, would need to be abolished"

Can people own land in the ACT? - Curious Canberra - "The first 99-year leases granted will expire in 2023. It's almost universally assumed that the Government will simply roll over those leases for another 99 years."
HDB justifies 99 year leasehold by saying Hong Kong and Canberra do it too

Math is Racist: University of Illinois Professor - "A math-education professor at the University of Illinois wrote about some of the more racist aspects of math in a new anthology for teachers, arguing that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.”... Think that math is just math? Well, you’re wrong; math might as well be called “white math,” because as Gutierrez explained, “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”"

Feminist prof says 'traditional science' is rooted in racism - "Sara Giordano argues that "traditional science" relies on "a colonial and racialized form of power," and must be replaced with an "anti-science, antiracist, feminist approach to knowledge production.”... Sara Giordano, who left the field of neuroscience to become a Women’s Studies professor at UC-Davis, opened up about her feelings towards the sciences in a recent essay for Catalyst, a journal of feminist theory."
There're interesting parallels with Kurt Wise, whose story of throwing away science because it contradicts the Bible Dawkins relates

Friday, September 21, 2018

Links - 21st September 2018 (2)

Sarah Jeong and the battle of the Twittermobs - "The same people who cheered the sacking of Roseanne Barr, who was dropped by ABC over a racist joke, have suddenly developed an extraordinary sense of tolerance. The double standard is glaring. The NYT ended its relationship with another soon-to-be editorial board member, Quinn Norton, earlier this year because of her use of slurs in old tweets and her friendship with the alt-right hacker known as ‘weev’. Even though, in Norton’s case, it was far from clear whether she even held the hateful views being attributed to her: she said she was trying to convince weev of the errors of his ways... when Jeong later provided examples of the supposed torrent of online abuse she has faced over the years, she could only find two, one of which didn’t even refer to her race... That right-wingers are now weaponising offence is the depressingly predictable consequence of the censorious outrage culture created by left-wingers, who are now rendered incapable of criticising the right-wing version from a position of principle."

Ben Shapiro on Twitter - "1. Asian-Americans are so successful that colleges discriminating against them in admissions is appropriate.
2. Asian-Americans are victims of white society and therefore Sarah Jeong’s anti-white tweets are okay.
Pick one, woke Leftists."

Paul Joseph Watson on Twitter - "Candace Owens copied Sarah Jeong's tweets, replacing the word "white" with "Jewish" and "black". She was immediately given a 12 hour suspension. Jeong's account remains unaffected. The absolute state of this platform. #FreeCandace"

Nick Monroe on Twitter - ""For a period of time she imitated the rhetoric of her harassers." How big of a timeframe are we talking about, here? Because at a glance I can pull *at least* a two year timespan. She's not "imitating" shit. There's a clear pattern of standard behavior demonstrated...
Jeong's anti-white rhetoric dates back to at least August 2013... as we reach the tail end of December 2013, take the time to reflect on the SHEER VOLUME of tweets we have from Jeong about white people. Like, throw away the face value outrage. Focus on the consistency of it. Look at how many of these tweets there are... From February 2014 to March 2014. In this one Sarah Jeong manages to attack her audience with an anti-white slam... At this point I'm confident in accusing @nytimes of not doing an independent assessment of Sarah Jeong and just taking her word at face value...
"White people have stopped breeding. You'll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along" - Sarah Jeong, August 2014. http://archive.is/BmBJ0 Sarah Jeong advocating for a white genocide count is currently at 3, for folks following along at home...
The truth is Sarah Jeong is still racist against white people. As I go through and read 2017's tweets, that much is clear to me."
Anti-racism means hating white people

A writer at Vox defends the New York Times hiring of a racist editor. - "It’s classic postmodern wordplay. ‘It’s not racism because she didn’t mean ALL whites’. ‘It’s not racism because it is just shorthand.’ ‘It’s not racist because it means something different when they say whites’. ‘It’s not racist because that’s how they talk’. ‘It’s not racist because she isn’t in a position of power’. (Really? An editor for the NYT from one of the highest performing demographics in the country isn’t in a position of power?)"

Can Sarah Jeong Be Racist Against Whites? Ask The Jews. - "adjacent to the question of whether it’s possible to be racist against whites is the question of whether the left’s definition of racism — prejudice plus power — would include or preclude Ashkenazi Jews... “The word societies for centuries have used for punching up is satire. The word we generally use for punching down is bigotry.” This point of view — that one can’t be bigoted against someone who has institutional power — is mainstream in the left today. And yet, we Jews know how inadequate, and even dangerous, defining racism as contingent on power can be, precisely because anti-Jewish racism is always based on the belief that Jews have power, and are therefore deserving of hate."
What a strange definition of satire and bigotry
When you despise power and success...


How Anti-Semitism’s True Origin Makes It Invisible To The Left - "the hatred of Jews stems from the belief that Jews are a cabal with supernatural powers; in other words, it stems from the models of thought that produce conspiracy theories. Where the white racist regards blacks as inferior, the anti-Semite imagines that Jews have preternatural power to afflict humankind. This is also why the left is blind to anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism differs from most forms of racism in that it purports to “punch up” against a secret society of oppressors, which has the side effect of making it easy to disguise as a politics of emancipation. If Jews have power, then punching up at Jews is a form of speaking truth to power — a form of speech of which the left is currently enamored. In other words, it is because anti-Semitism pretends to strike at power that the left cannot see it, and is doomed to erase — and even reproduce — its tropes... Today’s conspiracist blends the mindset of the medieval magician with the viciousness of the inquisitor. The old fears about crop fouling and well poisoning, for example, are now directed at genetically modified organizms and fluoride in the water. The idea that doctors and sorcerers were one and the same surfaces in paranoia about AIDS and vaccines. And flat-earthers rehearse astrological debates about the cosmos... Above all else, anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory about the maleficent Jewish elite. And it’s this that makes it easy to disguise as a politics of liberation, or, at least, to embed anti-Semitism quietly in efforts for social justice."

The Untold Story of Silk Road, Part 1 - "He had been hired by Dread Pirate Roberts, the mysterious figure at the center of Silk Road. DPR, as he was often called, was the proprietor of the site and the visionary leader of its growing community. His relatively frictionless drug market was a serious challenge to law enforcement, who still had no idea who he or she was—or even if DPR was a single person at all. For over a year, agents from the DEA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the IRS, the Secret Service, and US Postal Inspection had been trying to infiltrate the organization’s inner circle. This bust of Green and his Chihuahuas in the frozen Utah desert was their first notable success."

Christopher Robin banned in China because of war on Winnie the Pooh

Making sense of 'The Handmaid's Tale' hysteria - "there's something infinitely more interesting going on beneath the surface of the great "Handmaid's Tale" brouhaha, and it highlights one of the biggest, most baffling problems of modern feminism: the consistent insinuation that women have no personal agency. It is a theme that quietly underscores almost every panicked article about "The Handmaid's Tale." But perhaps Atwood puts it best, suggesting to the Times that America — a country where minors can get IUDs without parental consent in 21 states, while Republicans earn mass panic for suggesting that Planned Parenthood doesn't need taxpayer help — is on the verge of a Ceausescu-like regime where women are "forced" to have babies... In the feminist world, babies just seem to "happen" to women; it's almost as quaint as the stork. It also all takes place in an imaginary world where modern birth control and individual agency don't exist. (Spoiler alert: Birth control, despite what you may read, is not about to get banned. It will also likely remain subsidized to the hilt.) Weirdly, for all of their talk about women needing to "control their own bodies," feminists often act as if women are helpless and completely incapable of doing so on their own — unless, that is, they're guided by a large, expansive, paternalistic government. Good heavens. Forgive me, but for a moment, that almost sounded like "The Handmaid's Tale.""

Why You Shouldn't Wrap Your Food in Aluminium Foil Before Cooking It - "My research found that the migration of aluminium into food during the cooking process of food wrapped in aluminium foil is above the permissible limit set by the World Health Organisation."

Google Struggles to Contain Employee Uproar Over China Censorship Plans - "Google bosses were scrambling to contain leaks and internal anger on Wednesday after the company’s confidential plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China was revealed by The Intercept."
"Don't be evil"

The greedy ways Apple got to $1 trillion - "Apple gives you that tingly feeling in the worst way. Can it not build Lightning cables and MacBook chargers a little sturdier? If you avoid losing one long enough to put in some serious use, it inevitably ends up splitting where the cord meets your iPhone or exits the laptop power supply...
Want to cancel your Apple Music subscription or some other service you got roped into with a free trial? It’s SUPER easy. First, click the totally unlabeled and generic circle with a blotch in it that’s supposed to be a profile picture icon. You should see a “Manage Subscriptions” option…but you don’t. Instead, you’ll have to know to tap “View Apple ID”. Once you auth in with the same face or thumbprint that opened your phone in the first place you’ll find the option to cut them off. And as thank you for this convenience, you’ll get to pay 30 percent extra on some subscriptions if you pay through Apple. It’s clearly exploitative dark pattern design...
What’s the opposite of “it just works”? Paying extra to lug around a slew of gangly cord connectors you need just to plug things into your laptop or phone. Dongles are the emblem of Apple’s abandonment of the user experience"

Assistant engineer jailed five years for sex with 15-year-old girl - "A man indulged in a series of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) sex activities with a 15-year-old schoolgirl after she posted an advert online looking for "someone who (can) afford to pay for my tuition fees". Lim Chee Keong, 33, met the girl on a website offering commercial sex but never paid her a cent... he never intended to pay her. In fact he used a fake name to engage her and also communicated with her using a pre-paid SIM card and discarded it after their sexual encounters. It was further revealed in court that Lim had engaged over six women in 2016 in the same way, promising to pay them for sex but never actually doing so."
If she'd been 16, this would presumably have been better than paying her

The Atlantic Was Wrong to Fire Kevin Williamson - "Word of Williamson’s hiring was greeted by some as if by mercenary opposition researchers determined to isolate the most outlying and offensive thoughts that he ever uttered, no matter how marginal to his years of journalistic work; to gleefully amplify them, sometimes in highly distorting ways, in a manner designed to stoke maximum upset and revulsion; and to frame them as if they said everything one needed to know about his character. To render him toxic was their purpose. That mode was poison when reserved for cabinet nominees; it is poison when applied to journalistic hires; and it will be poison if, next week or year, it comes for you. Insofar as opinion journalists indulged in it, the mode is also a professional failure... I reject the assumption that social justice or civic progress are advanced, that repressive outcomes are avoided, or that vulnerable groups are best served, by partisans who focus on everyone’s most extreme, or wrongheaded, or taboo, or outlying, or shocking, or problematic view—all but guaranteeing needless polarization...
'I’ve spent my entire adult life in an academic and media environment that put a premium on shocking the conservative conscience. Advocate for the most barbaric abortion practices? Fine. Celebrate an artist who dips a crucifix in urine? Cool. Decry 9/11 first responders as “not human” because of white supremacy? Intriguing. But the marketplace of ideas isn’t for the faint of heart'...
Robert P. George posed this question on Twitter: “Thought experiment: Imagine that The Atlantic hires Peter Singer, but critics demand that he be fired for saying it's not in principle morally wrong for parents to kill newborn infant children. Conservatives: Would you support his being fired? Liberals: Would you oppose it?”... That Williamson was fired, for better or worse, does not render The Atlantic a small tent. It remains depressingly difficult to find many bigger tents in American media."

Rihanna's Skinny Eyebrows on Vogue - Skinny Eyebrows and Mexican Culture - "I guarantee had, say, J.Lo or Gina Rodriguez graced the cover of a magazine with pencil-thin brows, they would have been ripped apart on the Internet for looking like a girl from the hood at best, or a chola at “worst.” To most Mexican and Mexican-American women, drawn-on eyebrows are a look historically representative of a marginalized culture—my culture—and have become a Latinx street style viewed as “trashy” by the rest of society. That is, until Rihanna wears them"
Uhh...

New Zealand goose: How one blind bisexual bird became an icon - "his stint as a father was short-lived, as he had his babies stolen by another goose who raised the babies himself... it is not uncommon for geese to be bisexual, though he adds that the duo were the only pair in the Waikanae Estuary to mate with the same sex. It is also not unheard of for geese to mate with swans, with the offspring of a swan and a goose known as a swoose"

English as the hardest European Language (to learn to read)

"The results for English appear grossly different from the other European languages. In the Scottish sample, analysis suggested that two or more years of experience were needed before word identification in English matched the accuracy and fluency levels achieved in the majority of languages before the end of the first school year...

The most extreme disadvantage occurs in English. Although the Scottish grade 1 children were ahead of age expectation, they read only 29% of nonwords correctly and were extremely dysfluent (6.69 sec/item). Grade 2 children, aged 6.56 years, read only 64% of nonwords at a rate of 3.17 sec/item, well below all other languages tested (except for the Danish grade 1 group). Seymour et al. estimated that the reading age needed to match the level of the majority of European languages was above 7.5 years, implying that the English-speaking groups needed 25 years of learning, or more than twice as much time as most other languages, to establish a most minimal and basic decoding function."

--- Early Reading Development in European Orthographies in The Science of Reading: A Handbook / ed Margaret J. Snowling, Charles Hulme

Links - 21st September 2018 (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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