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Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm allergic to Chicken Soup

I've just had a look at the latest List of Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Not unexpectedly, this series of self-indulgent emotional masturbation in a vacuum has managed to surpass its previous "achievement" of "Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul".

Some of the more egregious entries:

Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul (naturally, there's also Chicken Soup for the African American Soul)
Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul
Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Beach Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul (presumably this includes stories of brews gone wrong)
Chicken Soup for the Chiropractic Soul (maybe this comforts those who have their backs broken)
Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul (this makes sense: after a root canal the only thing you can eat is Chicken Soup)
Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul – The 2nd Round (yes, there're two!)
Chicken Soup for the Indian Teenage Soul
Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul
Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul
Chicken Soup for the Nature Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul ("Mom threw out my scrapbook. I'm very sad.")
Chicken Soup for the Shopper's Soul ("I missed Black Monday. Now I feel like killing myself")
Chicken Soup for the Tea-Lover's Soul
Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Links - 16th December 2014

5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die - "MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work...
Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies. My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth."

Anatomy Of A Troll Job: The xoBang Gang And The Business Of Rage - "My client got enormous exposure. For every potential customer they alienated, there were ten more who became aware of them for the first time. The outraged bloggers, for their part, got pageviews and uniques and followers, which their bosses cashed out in the form of ad sales and impressions, and then some small portion of the ad revenue trickled back down to the typists—excuse me, writers. The short end of the stick went to you, the audience. All you got was offended, annoyed, and sucked into another virtual pissing contest about sexism in the media. (You also, perhaps, acquired brand awareness of my client—a company that wants your money in return for overpriced shit you don’t need.) To recap: I won. My client won. The bloggers won. Everyone else got fucked... Had Felicia Sullivan kept her anger to herself, rather than sharing it with her 4,936 Twitter followers, it would have been as though xoBang were never published—which, again, is what she claimed to want. So why the hell did Felicia share it?... Breadcrumb and I had a hypothesis that the “social justice” component of these Twitter tantrums in response to the SWPL outrage du jour is bullshit, basically; a convenient cover for less noble aims. xoBang, which is both irresistible to the social justice warriors and completely unworthy of their attention, was created to test that hypothesis... The girl bloggers and their assorted hangers-on were drawn to “xoBang” like lemmings to a precipice, and upon reading it, promptly took the bait and lost their shit... That’s what rage profiteers do: They traffic in content that is so irresistibly inflammatory that it hijacks our attention and forces us into the rage profiteer’s audience. Rage profiteering has surely existed, in one form or another, from time immemorial. But the diffuse lens of the internet and digital media created an extraordinary range of new niches for rage profiteering, and has thus caused a proliferation of rage profiteers such as society has never before seen... Your attention (as distinct from your education, enrichment, or well-being) is Felicia’s stock-in-trade. That is why her online persona has been meticulously calibrated to hijack your time, thoughts, and emotional state. Her goal is to make you look her way, then parlay you into new Twitter followers, bigger social marketing clients, better Amazon sales numbers, and—above all—more dollar bills in her purse."

Dancing death - "This was not the first outbreak of compulsive dancing in Europe. In fact, there had been as many as ten dancing epidemics before 1518, one in 1374 engulfing many of the towns of modern day Belgium, north-eastern France and Luxembourg... My explanation rests on the fact that the dancers were in a trance state; otherwise they would have been unable to dance for such lengths of time. We know that the trance state is more likely to occur in people who under extreme psychological distress, and who believe in the possibility of spirit possession. All of these conditions were satisfied in Strasbourg in 1518. The city's poor were suffering from severe famine and disease. And, crucially, we also know they believed in a saint called St. Vitus who had the power to take over their minds and inflict a terrible, compulsive dance... The dancing plague died out because the supernaturalist beliefs that fed it gradually disappeared. In the short run, cities like Strasbourg were no longer susceptible because they became Protestant during the Reformation and spurned the saint worship on which the dancing plague depended. In the long run, the fervent supernaturalism of the medieval world had to make way for the rise of modern science and rationality. The dancing madness was effectively starved out of existence. Even so, half a millennium later it still serves as a reminder of the ineffable strangeness of the human brain"
"Possession" is a strange thing indeed

The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic | Ali A. Rizvi - "The problem is a seven-minute film being shown at the soon-to-open museum called The Rise of Al Qaeda. Narrated by NBC's Brian Williams, it uses words like "Islamist," "Islamic," and "jihad" in reference to the 9/11 hijackers and their motives. Some Muslim groups, and others like the Interfaith Center of New York, want the film edited to remove those terms. They don't want the public to think that Islamism or jihad had anything to do with Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, because that could foster "Islamophobia"... As a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name, I can get away with a lot more than you'd think. I can publicly parade my wife or daughters around in head-to-toe burqas and be excused out of "respect" for my culture and/or religion, thanks to the racism of lowered expectations. I can re-define "racism" as something non-whites can never harbor against whites, and cite colonialism and imperialism as justification for my prejudice. And in an increasingly effective move that's fast become something of an epidemic, I can shame you into silence for criticizing my ideas simply by calling you bigoted or Islamophobic. For decades, Muslims around the world have rightly complained about the Israeli government labeling even legitimate criticism of its policies "anti-Semitic," effectively shielding itself from accountability. Today, Muslim organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) have borrowed a page from their playbook with the "Islamophobia" label -- and taken it even further... Last month, a white American man successfully convinced the Massachusetts liberal arts school Brandeis University that he was being victimized and oppressed by a black African woman from Somalia -- a woman who underwent genital mutilation at age five and travels with armed security at risk of being assassinated. That is the power of this term... The most tragic aspect of all this is what Alishba Zarmeen has coined the "Greenwald Syndrome" -- the phenomenon of Western liberals, in a supposed show of tolerance, embracing an apologist stance in favor of the intolerant. My good friend and writer/activist Faisal Al Mutar, who escaped repeated death threats for his secular beliefs in his native Iraq, put it best: "Many of [the Western liberals] have betrayed us liberals in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, and [inadvertently] sided with the Islamists against us.""

Where have all the IBs gone – Part 3: Their cause and its effect | The Online Citizen - "This effectively makes our piece of cyberspace rather unhealthy for the casual user, who would be in all likelihood take such views to be those of the “average Singaporean”. Clearly, they are not. Co-ordinated online attacks by PAP IBs are meant to skew perspectives through sheer numbers, or divert attention from the actual policy issues by antagonising those who voice displeasure at these policies. Such efforts by IBs are best described as astro-turfing, and while on their own harmless, such activities have the potential to disrupt a proper assessment of public opinion on issues and policies, be it by other citizens or policy makers. More importantly, given that the PAP has clearly voiced no qualms about their IBs hiding behind the vile of anonymity to swing public opinion in the party’s favour, the question to ask would be whether the PAP has actively sanctioned such activities, or is merely unaware of the effect that such activities have in social media... While Ministers and MPs criticise bloggers for “taking issues out of context” and misleading the public with information, the fact that pages like FAP and FLOP continue to operate in a manner which seeks to demean opposition members and its supporters through misleading headlines and quotes taken out of context, with no word from the PAP MPs, is a double standard by itself"

Disney's 'Frozen' apparently inspired a color-changing bra - "The Close Sister Bras, as they're officially named, can instantly take on a new hue when friends wearing a matching pair come into contact with each other. To create the design, Triumph (which has a history of... odd bra designs) recruited gadget-maker Fashion Entertainments, which was responsible for making and providing the electronic-paper used to trigger the color changes in the bra. Apparently, there's no plan to take the Close Sister Bras to market -- it's all about empowering self-confidence and sisterhood, according to the firms behind the eccentric underwear."

Sweet dealing schoolboy hands over crisps and drinks to homeless after business ban - "A schoolboy entrepreneur who shot to fame after making £14,000 selling sweets at his school has given away the last of his stock to the homeless. Tommie Rose found himself in trouble with his headteacher after it was revealed his ‘black market’ school tuck shop had raked in thousands of pounds to pay his University fees. Now, with the looming threat of suspension from his school, Tommie has decided to close the playground business and give away the rest of his sweet-toothed goods to Manchester's rough sleepers... Meanwhile Tommie, is considering a new business venture - involving T-shirts - and has attended a meeting ahead of a prospective job offer. Simon Swan has offered the teenager and internship at his Manchester-based recruitment firm Hiring-Hub, which connects job-hunters with recruitment agencies via the web. Tommie said: “I have had a few other job offers since the story broke, including an offer to sell fragrances. I just love the world of business.”

Have Sperm, Will Travel: The ‘Natural Inseminators’ Helping Women Avoid the Sperm Bank

Will the Swiss Quit Cooking their Kittens and Puppies? - "the number of feline-feasting Swiss has proven impossible to back up with hard data, although nearly all Swiss animal rights groups agree on the figure. According to SOS Chats Noiraigue, which has gathered more than 16,000 signatures for a petition to the Swiss government to stop the practice of consuming cats, the three percent figure comes from a survey conducted by Swiss media in which they asked “would you” and “could you” eat a cat... “In almost all rural areas of Switzerland, it is customary to eat cats and dogs”... SOS Chat Noiraigue founder Tomi Tomek says the practice is such an open secret, many rural Swiss can readily repeat their favorite cat recipe. She says most Swiss pet eaters cook their cats using rabbit recipes, often stewing them with garlic and wine, stuffing several cats into a crock at the same time since there just isn’t a lot of meat on most felines. According to Swiss press reports, younger cats in the litter are the most tender and, as such, are the preferred cat cuts. Dogs, Tomek says, are instead generally ground into sausages and eaten by those who believe dog meat lessons the symptoms of rheumatism... In October, the government of Denmark announced it would vote on whether to stop the practice of bestiality or having sex with pets, which has, until now, been perfectly legal. Eating pets as food also has roots across Europe. In 2010, a popular Italian television cook known as Chef Beppe was taken off the air after including cat recipes on his televised cooking class. “If you don’t have meat, kill the cat,” he said. He later told CNN that eating cat was a pre-war custom across Italy. “In Parma the cat was nicknamed 'the rabbit that runs on roofs,' in Liguria, the cat is nicknamed 'the rabbit with short ears, in Piedmont it is called the 'rabbit that meows.’” he said. “Today we are scandalized by this. Why? Because times have changed. The cat has become a domestic animal. This was not the case before." According to The Daily Meal food site, the Hawaiian government recently shelved a plan to make eating dogs illegal, apparently because, although the practice is popular among certain communities, there was just not a lot of evidence that crimes were committed between getting the dogs from the back yard to the barbeque"
I need to go back to Switzerland and make friends with a local before they ban cat meat

A Coupon site you definitely should NOT use

Today, I discovered a new coupon site that you absolutely must stay away from.

It's called iPrice Shop.

I've just received a long rambling email from them.

Not only was it totally impersonal, insincere and unsolicited, it also had all the recipients in the To field (instead of the BCC field), exposing everyone's email addresses.

Lack of business ethics aside, they seem clueless about netiquette and marketing, which doesn't bode well for their operations.

In other words, if you buy something from them, who knows what they'll screw up?


Original spam mailer:


Hello,

Love your lifestyle blog along with all your other amazing articles!

I'm from iPrice Shop - we provide product information on all brand and also carry online coupons codes for web stores​ such as ZALORA and more.

We would like to let you in on our major face-lift! We are moving towards becoming an affiliate store. Check us out here. At our website, you can find famous labels like River Island, Nike and more.

Also, we have a coupon page for Singapore and coupon page for Malaysia. These coupon codes help online shoppers get additional discounts on their purchases. Today, iPrice is available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.

You would be able to get all your favorite brands under one roof and be notified on the sales that are going on for it! We are adding more stores to our list as well (net-a-porter to follow suit soon!)

Many Malaysian bloggers wrote about us before. Now we need help from the Singaporean to blog about us too.

You can check few blog posts about iPrice Shop here:

http://www.lovingsunshine.com/2014/10/how-to-be-sunflower-bae.html
http://www.glamourmoments.net/best-holiday-gift-guide-iprice/

It will be great if you can write a blogpost about iPrice Shop and reviews can also be done in Bahasa Malaysia.

Hope to have you on board and we would love to hear your take on it ! (also we are a small start-up and we make no money from users)

PS: Our articles have been featured on AdAsia and Yahoo Singapore.

Thank you for taking the time, reviewing on us. Thanking you in advance, looking forward to hear from you soon!

Cheers,​
Subashini Loganathan​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Friday, December 12, 2014

Links - 12th December 2014

In bid to shore up Malay land reserves, Johor MB says will next seize non-Malays’ land - "Even as the size of Malay reserve lands in Johor increases, the state Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said these lands will also be seized from non-Malay owners."
Malaysia Boleh!

Where Men See White, Women See Ecru - "Neuroscientists have discovered that women are better at distinguishing among subtle distinctions in color, while men appear more sensitive to objects moving across their field of vision... women proved slightly better at discriminating among subtle gradations in the middle of the color spectrum, where yellow and green reside. They detected tiny differences between yellows that looked the same to men. The researchers also found that men require a slightly longer wavelength to see the same hue as women; an object that women experience as orange will look slightly more yellowish to men, while green will look more blue-green to men. This last part doesn’t confer an advantage on either sex, but it does demonstrate, Abramov says, that “the nervous system that deals with color cannot be wired in the exact same way in males as in females.” He believes the answer lies in testosterone and other androgens. Evidence from animal studies suggests that male sex hormones can alter development in the visual cortex."

Muslims Discovered the Americas, Claims Turkish President - "It is becoming increasingly painful to write about Turkey these days. Every week, there is a controversial incident or statement from Turkey that is difficult to explain to the American public... Many articles from the international media mocked Erdogan's statement, but the Turkish president refused to recant it. Instead, he insisted that domestic critics who questioned his claim lack a sense of self worth. "These people have never believed that Muslims could achieve such a thing. They are also the people who do not believe that their ancestors [Ottomans] carried warships over land [during the conquest of Istanbul]. This is a matter of a lack of self-confidence"... Turkey behaves more like a Middle Eastern country -- not a European one -- with every passing day, and this makes it tough for her Western friends to support Ankara. The Turkish government's strong ties with the Muslim factions and its divergence from Western politics (despite its NATO membership) has alienated Turkey from the Western world. The Western frustration with Erdogan is obvious. In private meetings, Westerners often use words like "hubris" and "narcissism" when they speak about Erdogan, while many question Turkey's allegiance to its Western allies... In their desperation to support Erdogan so wholeheartedly, the American leaders turned a blind eye to who Erdogan really is and gave far too much credit to Turkey's Islamist government. In the end, "moderate Islam" satisfied neither the Muslims nor the Americans"

Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt made me cry, too – with rage at his abusers - "I watched that clip of Dr Taylor’s apology – at the moment of his supreme professional triumph – and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people. Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations. And so I want, naturally, to defend this blameless man. And as for all those who have monstered him and convicted him in the kangaroo court of the web – they should all be ashamed of themselves. Yes, I suppose some might say that his Hawaii shirt was a bit garish, a bit of an eyeful. But the man is not a priest, for heaven’s sake. He is a space scientist with a fine collection of tattoos, and if you are an extrovert space scientist, that is the kind of shirt that you are allowed to wear. As for the design of the garment, I have studied it as closely as the photos will allow, and I can’t see what all the fuss is about. I suppose there are women with long flowing hair and a certain amount of décolletage. But let’s not mince our words: there are no nipples; there are no buttocks; there is not even an exposed midriff, as far as I can see. It’s the hypocrisy of it all that irritates me. Here is Kim Kardashian – a heroine and idol to some members of my family – deciding to bust out all over the place, and good for her. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage. But why is she held to be noble and pure, while Dr Taylor is attacked for being vulgar and tasteless? I think his critics should go to the National Gallery and look at the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez. Or look at the stuff by Rubens. Are we saying that these glorious images should be torn from the walls? What are we all – a bunch of Islamist maniacs who think any representation of the human form is an offence against God? This is the 21st century, for goodness’ sake. And if you ask yourself why so few have come to the defence of the scientist, the answer is that no one dares. No one wants to take on the rage of the web – by which people use social media to externalise their own resentments and anxieties, often anonymously and with far more vehemence than they really intend. No one wants to dissent – and no wonder our politics sometimes feels so sterilised and homogenised. There must be room in our world for eccentricity, even if it offends the prudes, and room for the vague other-worldliness that often goes with genius. Dr Taylor deserves the applause of our country, and those who bash him should hang their own heads and apologise"

A sharp instrument must be used when M'sian state implements hudud law, says faith healer - "“Whether the authorities use a machete, sword or even a guillotine, the fundamental law is that the instrument must be sharp,” he told The Star, adding that the offender should be conscious when the punishment is meted out so that he will feel remorse for committing the offence."

There Are Very Few 'Uncommon' Sexual Fantasies - "The researchers found that only two sexual fantasies (bestiality and pedophilia) were statistically rare (where 2.3 percent or less of respondents included it as a fantasy) and nine were considered statistically unusual (15.9 percent or less). Urinating on one’s partner and wearing clothing associated with the opposite sex were among those considered unusual. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there were five fantasies—wanting to feel romantic emotions during sex, oral sex, having sex in an unusual or romantic place, and having a special atmosphere—considered typical (more than 84 percent of the responses). The remaining 39 were common (more than 50 percent of the responses), meaning 44 out of the 55 sexual fantasies were experienced by at least half the people polled. These included dominance and submission, as well as bondage, group sex, and anal sex. The study authors noted that calling a sexual fantasy “unusual” might not be correct anymore given how common the majority of them were."

Journal of Interpersonal Violence: Study suggests attackers choose victims based on the way they walk. - "“Don’t be a victim.” That’s a phrase you’ll hear a lot if you take a crime-prevention class, or if you befriend J.J. Bittenbinder. Basically, it means that there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that you’ll be mugged, assaulted, or otherwise attacked. Don’t wave wads of cash around like you’re in Brewster’s Millions. Don’t space out on the subway. Walk with a purpose. That last one is particularly important, because according to a new study from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, some criminals are very good at sensing weakness based on the way you walk"
Victim blaming!

Ferguson Cop Had 'Serious Facial Injury,' Source Tells ABC News

WSJ's Riley Unloads On Obama, Sharpton, Media Over Ferguson - "“The black crime rate in 1960 was lower than it is today,” he said. “Was there less racism or less poverty than in 1960? This is about black behavior. It needs to be addressed head-on. It’s about attitudes toward the criminal justice system in these neighborhoods, where young black men have no sense of what it means to be a male or what it means to be black.” “And he needs to talk about that head-on,” Riley repeated, “not dismiss it as a product of poverty or racism, which is a dodge.” The WSJ editor also took aim at black civil rights leaders and the media campaign they’ve created. “There’s this false narrative being pushed out there by folks like Michael Eric Dyson and [Al] Sharpton and the rest of the hustlers,” he said, “[and it's] that black men live in fear of being shot by cops in those neighborhoods. That too is nonsense.” “I know something about growing up black and male in the inner city,” Riley explained, “and it’s not that hard to avoid getting shot by a cop. They pull you over, you answer their questions. you’re on your way.” “The real difficulty is not getting shot by other black people, if you are a young black man in these neighborhoods!” Riley continued. “And again, that is something we need to talk about more! Cops are not the problem.”"

What does it say about America when African-American parents in 2014 need to tell their boys how to respond to police when out and about in order to come home safe and alive? - Quora - "I don't understand where the presumption comes from that it's any different for whites. My parents taught me how to behave in an exchange with the police, and my decisions to abide by the lessons I have been taught are something I have no reason to question."
"Parents of all races, of children of all races (they don't always correlate), should talk to their children about police. For most parents and children this is not a difficult issue."
"Whenever this issue comes up, I think about a black student I had in a criminal justice class at a state college in West Virginia. He was born and raised in Washington, D.C. I asked him after class one day, "Have you been harassed or mistreated by the DC police?" He replied, "No. I've never been stopped by the police." He was a quiet young man, a good student, and always respectful without being obsequious. I appreciate that he may be an anomaly, but I suspect his lack of bad experiences with the police have a lot to do with his demeanor and conduct. Claims of being harassed by the police are not limited to racial or ethnic minorities... I don't deny that racial profiling occurs, but I think that many of these stops are brought on by people who say, "...I wasn't doing a damn thing," when in fact they were doing something they weren't supposed to be doing. Avoiding adverse contacts with the police often involve no more than what most of us learned in kindergarten"
"there are about 40 million African Americans alive and well in America. To the best knowledge anybody has, an average of 96 are killed by police each year. Fewer African Americans of any age are killed by police than Americans are killed in car crashes with deer. The FBI reports 3.4 million arrests of African Americans per year. Do the math. Does it sound like anyone has done a logical risk assessment here?"
"If you rob a convenience store, don't assault the police afterwards, possibly fracturing their skull."

Artist sets up an arts grant for other artists - "Dancer-choreographer Eng Kai Er has recently set up No Star Arts Grant and she is offering S$1,000 a month — out of her own salary — to fund art projects in all genres, “including (but) not limited to fine art, visual art, dance, music, circus, theatre, film and literature.” According to the grant’s Tumblr site, applicants should be able to explain why the proposed works are “important FOR THEMSELVES (and not for “the community” or “the nation”)”. Eng will be leaning towards projects that are overlooked by other funding sources such as those with “LGBT themes, sexual themes, political art (and) other marginalised type(s) of work”... Of course, there are other conceptual layers to this project beyond being an experiment in and exploring the idea of arts philanthropy, not least of which has to do with Eng’s background as an scholar who is, as the website says, “bonded to an organisation that cannot be named, under a scholarship programme that also cannot be named”. It continues: “Eng Kai Er is not interested in her bonded employment at all, but has to serve her bond or pay, as of 30 September 2014, around $741657.37 in order to quit her job. Since she understands the pain of having a paid job that is not aligned with her interests, she wishes to change the world by having more instances of paid jobs aligned with people’s interests, and No Star Arts Grant is her own small way of doing that.”"

Equality vs Freedom

Free To Choose Media - Free To Choose: Volume 5 - Created Equal

MILTON FRIEDMAN: From the Victorian novelists to modern reformers, a favorite device to stir our emotions is to contrast extremes of wealth and of poverty. We are expected to conclude that the rich are responsible for the deprivations of the poor — that they are rich at the expense of the poor.

Whether it is in the slums of New Delhi or in the affluence of Las Vegas, it simply isn't fair that there should be any losers. Life is unfair; there is nothing fair about one man being born blind and another man being born with sight. There is nothing fair about one man being born of a wealthy parent and one of an impecunious parent. There is nothing fair about Muhammad Ali having been born with a skill that enables him to make millions of dollars one night. There is nothing fair about Marlene Dietrich having great legs that we all want to watch. There is nothing fair about any of that. But on the other hand, don't you think a lot of people who like to look at Marlene Dietrich’s legs benefited from nature's unfairness in producing a Marlene Dietrich?

What kind of a world would it be if everybody was an absolute identical duplicate of anybody else? You might as well destroy the whole world and just keep one specimen left for a museum.

In the same way, it's unfair that Muhammad Ali should be a great fighter and should be able to earn millions. But would it not be even more unfair to the people who like to watch him if you said that in the pursuit of some abstract ideal of equality, we're not going to let Muhammad Ali get more for one night’s fight than the lowest man on the totem-pole can get for a days unskilled work on the docks? You can do that but the result of that would be to deny people the opportunity to watch Muhammad Ali. I doubt very much he would be willing to subject himself to the kind of fights he's gone through if he were to get the pay of an unskilled docker...

A myth has grown up that free market capitalism increases such inequalities, that the rich benefit at the expense of the poor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Wherever the free market has been permitted to operate, the ordinary man has been able to attain levels of living never dreamed of before. Nowhere is the gap between rich and poor- nowhere are the rich richer and the poor poorer, than in those societies that do not permit the free market to operate, whether they be feudal societies where status determines position, or modern, centrally planned economies where access to government determines position.

Central planning was introduced in India, in considerable part, in the name of equality. The tragedy is that after 30 years, it is hard to see any significant improvement in the lot of the ordinary person...

New classes of privileged have been created to replace or supplement the old. The bureaucracy, secure in their jobs, protected against inflation both when they work and after they retire; the trade-unions, who profess to represent the most down-trodden workers but who in fact consist of the highest-paid laborers in the land, the aristocrats of the labor movement; and the new millionaires, the people who have been cleverest, most ingenious at finding ways around the rules, the regulations, the laws that have emanated from over there, who have found ways to avoid paying tax on the income they have acquired, to get their wealth and their money overseas beyond the hands of the tax collector. A vast reshuffling, yes; a greater equity, hardly.

The Yehudi Menuhin School in the south of England is also a place of privilege. Musically talented children from all over the world compete for a chance to come here to study.

Much of the moral fervor behind the drive for equality comes from the widespread belief that it is not fair that some children should have a great advantage over others simply because they happen to have wealthy parents. Of course it is not fair, but is there any distinction between the inheritance of property and the inheritance of what, at first sight, looks very different? These youngsters have inherited wealth, not in the form of bonds or stocks, but in the form of talent. That 15-year-old is an accomplished cellist. His father is a distinguished violinist. It’s no accident that most of the children at this school come from musical families. The inheritance of talent is no different, from an ethical point of view, from the inheritance of other forms of property, of bonds, of stocks, of houses, or of factories. Yet many people resent the one but not the other...

The ethical issues involved are subtle and complex. They are not to be resolved by resort to such simplistic formulas as fair shares for all. Indeed, if you took that seriously, it is the youngsters with less musical skills, not those with more, who should be sent to this school in order to compensate for their inherited disadvantage.

When the evening started, all of these players had about the same number of chips in front of them. But as the play progressed they surely didn't; some won, some lost. By the end of the evening some of them will have a big pile of chips; others will have small ones. There will be big winners; there will be big losers.

In the name of equality, should the winnings be redistributed to the losers, so that everybody ends up where he started? That would take all the fun out of the game. Even the losers wouldn't like that. They might like it tonight, but would they come back again to play if they knew that whatever happened, they would end up exactly where they had started?

What does Las Vegas have to do with the real world? A great deal more than you might think. It is one very important part of our life in highly concentrated form. Every day, all of us are making decisions that involve gambles. Sometimes, they are big gambles, as when we decide what occupation to pursue or whom to marry. More often, they are small gambles, as when we decide whether to cross the street against the traffic. But each time, the question is who shall make the decision -- we or somebody else? We can make the decision only if we bear the consequences...

The failure of the drive for equality is not because the wrong measures were adopted; not because they were badly administered; not because the wrong people administered it. The failure is much more fundamental.

It is because that drive goes against the most basic instinct of all human beings; in the words of Adam Smith, “The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, to improve his own lot and to make a better world for his children and his children's children.” When the law interferes with that pursuit, everyone will try to find a way around. He will try to evade the law, he will break the law or he will emigrate from the country...

During the 19th century, and especially after the Civil War and on into the 20th century, the idea of equality came to have a much more definite and specific meaning than the abstract concept of equality before God. It came more and more to mean that everyone should have the same opportunity to make what he could of his capacities; that all careers should be open to people on the basis of their talents, independently of the race, or religion, or belief, or social class that characterize them. This concept of equality of opportunity offers no conflict at all with the concept of freedom. On the contrary, they reinforce one another, and it is no doubt the concept that, even today, is the most widely held.

But in the 20th century, beginning especially abroad and, at a later date in this country, a very different concept, a very different ideal has begun to emerge. That is the ideal that everyone should be equal in income, in level of living, in what he has; the idea that the economic race should be so arranged that everybody ends at the finish line at the same time, rather than that everyone starts at the beginning line at the same time. This concept raises a very serious problem for freedom. It is clearly in conflict with it, since it requires that the freedom of some be restricted in order to provide greater benefits to others.

The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both...

THOMAS SOWELL: First of all, I would disagree violently with the notion that the people are stirring. A very small handful of intellectuals have generated an enormous amount of noise. When I look at opinion polls, particularly when I look at opinion polls of blacks in the United States, most blacks in the United States do not take any strong position in favor of equality of results. In fact, most of the polls that I've seen of blacks put them, if you want to use this expression, very well to the right of most intellectuals on most of these social issues. It is not the people who are stirring; it is a handful of intellectuals...

Black people have never supported, for example, affirmative action, quotas, anything of that sort. Wherever polls have been taken of black opinion on such matters as should people be paid equally or should there be this or that, black people have never taken a position that you described. So it is not a question of what black people chose to do. It's what you choose to put in the mouths of black people and it's what you choose to project. It is not what any black people have ever said anywhere that you could put your finger on.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Links - 9th December 2014

Timeline Photos - Cats of Singapore - ""The PSLE school posting results are coming out soon. My son hopes to study at a SAP school, like Hwa Chong Institution. I'm actually worried that he might get accepted."
"Is it because SAP schools promote ethnic segregation and elitist, Sinocentric thinking? And that they reinforce the idea that Malays and Indians are inferior to the Chinese?"
"What? No. Have you seen the human traffic jams on Bukit Timah road? Someone's definitely going to step on his tail."
#KittiesOfBukitBatok #MustMaintainRacialBalanceHor #EliteUncaringFace #AllAnimalsEqual #ButSomeMoreEqual"
Apparently it is okay to bash SAP schools for this, but to bring up parallels with Madrasahs brings about "hatred, segregation and disunity" and has an obectionable tone

Lena Dunham, Zuckerberg Controversies: Dangers of Feminist Overreach - "Last week, in his first-ever public Q&A, Mark Zuckerberg was asked why he wears plain gray t-shirts apparently every waking moment of his life. “I’d feel I’m not doing my job if I spent any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life,” the Facebook CEO replied. Sounds innocuous enough, right? Not to some feminist critics... Zuckerberg did not explicitly—or, I'd argue, implicitly—contrast himself with women, but merely stated that he finds fashion concerns to be "silly" and "frivolous." If anything, he was referring to his fellow male tech CEOs, like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and his Prada suits; after all, only 6 percent of Silicon Valley CEOs are female. But in criticizing Zuckerberg, Davis and Krupnick relied on a stereotype that he himself did not—that only women care about clothes—and perhaps even reinforced that stereotype in sounding the feminist alarm... [many feminists] eviscerated Dunham and attacked anyone, including other feminists, who dared defend Dunham’s actions as normal—or, at least, not criminal—childhood behavior. This culminated with one feminist writing a public letter to Planned Parenthood asking them to drop Dunham as a spokesperson due to her “pattern of coercion that happened over the course of years, and the near-pornographic and remorseless way Dunham describes these incidents as an adult.” There is a hashtag, of course: #DropDunham. The deeper irony here is that Dunham has been one of the leading celebrity figures in the mainstreaming of feminism today. None other than Taylor Swift credits Dunham with Swift’s own feminist awakening. Dunham's hardly perfect—her handling of race comes to mind—but does she really deserve to be on feminists' hit list?... if feminism becomes like the boy who cried wolf—if girls, and women, cry sexism too readily and often—America will stop listening. The minute feminism becomes hypercritical and humorless, it becomes too easy for the mainstream to dismiss our more valid complaints... there are millions of undeniable victims of sexual assault in America, and thousands of perpetrators who are never held accountable. Does the seven-year-old Lena Dunham really rank high on the scale of prosecutorial priorities? Her sister Grace has denied that she is a victim—issuing a series of tweets including, “As a queer person: I’m committed to people narrating their own experiences, determining for themselves what has and has not been harmful.” The desire of some feminists to “speak truth to power” ran headlong into Grace Dunham’s desire to speak her own damn truth.In her essay about the Dunham debate, Time’s Jessica Bennett wrote about the paradox of feminists championing the success of women yet often being the first to scrutinize women when they succeed"
Yet, some feminists mock the substitution effect (that raising a hue and cry over non-issues distracts from real ones), much less the 'feminist who cried wolf' effect

Is Paternity Fraud really a “ticking time bomb”? - Marilyn Stowe Blog - "does it really matter whether a child is the biological offspring of his or her father? Does it really matter if a loving father and his child never find out? What harm is being done to the man, child or woman concerned – that is until they find out and the predictable fallout occurs?... Nor do I believe that women who have had affairs are fundamentally wicked creatures who should be required to confess all, if they have become pregnant by one man and have decided to save their relationship by shielding a partner and child – and, in most cases, themselves – from the truth... Can all that harm and all that trauma be justified simply because of the man’s “right to know”? I don’t think it is. I don’t support the decision by Boots to sell paternity testing kits over the counter. Experience has taught me, time and time again, that no good comes of opening Pandora’s Box."
Comment: "Using the logic in the article, one can easily create why raped women should never report their story to the police :)"

Physical Attractiveness, Dating Behavior, and Implications for Women - "The primary objective of this study was to determine which of two sociological theories of dating preference was more powerful in predicting women's actual dating frequency. The two theories tested were Waller's theory, which emphasizes physical attractiveness, and Blood's theory, which emphasizes personality. The present study supported Waller's theory. Discussion and implications for women and counselors are presented."

Patriarchy, Male Competition, and Excess Male Mortality - "across nations, women’s social and economic empowerment had a strong inverserelationship with the disparity between male and female mortality from both external(direct behavioral) and (behaviorally mediated) internal causes, even when accountingfor general economic inequality and the prevalence of polygyny. This study demon-strates the usefulness of an evolutionary framework for explaining contemporary socialphenomena and important public health issues."

The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off? - "Elite bodybuilders getting ready for a contest and models getting ready for a shoot are basically in a slow starvation process. Adhering to an extremely strict and precise regimen of eating and training (and perhaps adding some drugs into the mix) is the only way way they can drop their body fat to extremely low levels... But this process is not for the faint of heart. It goes against biological cues. It requires exercising when exhausted. It demands ignoring their desire for food in the face of powerful hunger cues. It involves intense focus and dedication. And it often distracts from other areas of life that these athletes might enjoy and value."

Based on LKY's and PAP own philosophy, nobody should be paid for not working - "I refer to the article: "WHY ARE WE PAYING $16K TO AN MP WHO CAN’T EVEN STAND AND ATTEND MEET-THE-PEOPLE SESSION?"... He made several judgement errors like the stop at two, graduate mothers, joining Malaysia, playing up the Malaysia for Malaysians , detention with trail, suppressing opposition etc. hence his political career comprises of both positives and negatives. He contributed but earned a salary for the contributions and also enjoyed other financial and other benefits. The question is should we pay him ex gracia payment for his past contributions. I will say yes for being the leader of the team that built modern SIngapore. The amount subject to approval by Parliament. But should he continue to be a MP and receive 16k allowance. It is tied to job scope. If a civil servant cannot carry out his job due to ill health do we allow him to stay on the job and continue to pay or transfer him to a lesser demanding job with a reduced pay... Based on LKY's and PAP own philosophy, nobody should be paid for not working. Singapore does not have social welfare like western countries"

Researchers 'appalled' as EU chief scientist role is axed - "The final decision came on the day Europe's scientists were celebrating the success of the Rosetta mission... In contrast to the official EU position, Ms Glover said that opposing the technology was "a form of madness". During the Summer, green groups published a letter to the incoming President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, urging him to scrap the role. The claimed that the position was "unaccountable, intransparent and controversial". The CSA, according to the letter, "presented one-sided, partial opinions in the debate on the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, repeatedly claiming that there was a scientific consensus about their safety". Despite strong support from scientific bodies, Prof Glover's mandate expired at the end of the Barroso presidency - and Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to formally close the Bureau of European Policy Advisers which included the CSA"

Murder 'comes naturally' to chimpanzees - "Prof Joan Silk from Arizona State University said the results "should finally put an end to the idea" that violence in wild chimpanzees was a product of human interference. She suggested that our perceptions of our evolutionary cousins can sometimes be distorted, because we want to believe that it is the nice behaviours, not the nasty ones, which have deep evolutionary roots... "I'm very glad they're publishing this," he told BBC News. It answers a "long, long history of resistance", Prof de Waal explained, to the idea of natural, inter-community violence in chimpanzees. "It has always been contentious - we've had meetings where people screamed at each other. "What this paper does is, instead of getting into the ideology and the history of these arguments... they have just taken the data and analysed it, and said: Where do the chips fall?" The chips, in this case, appear to fall in favour of a natural history of violence"
This is like the belief that all Evil in the world can be traced to the White Man

Chimpanzees are natural born killers, study says, and they prefer mob violence - "“The behavior of non-human primates, particularly chimpanzees, are often distorted by ideology and anthropomorphism, which produce a predisposition to believe that morally desirable features, such as empathy and altruism, have deep evolutionary roots, whereas undesirable features, such as group-level violence and sexual coercion, do not,” she wrote. “This reflects a naive form of biological determinism.”"

IDF on Twitter: "#GenderEquality means men & women carry the stretcher together. Shabbat Shalom from the #InspiringWomen of the IDF! http://t.co/AGTnvPJj13" - "#GenderEquality means men & women carry the stretcher together. Shabbat Shalom from the #InspiringWomen of the IDF!"

Male Guilt: Three Lessons from #ShirtStorm - "There are three big lesson we can learn from #ShirtStorm about the brave new world of feminist grievance-mongering that we have just landed on.
1) They’re not just going after the frat boys.
2) The new orthodoxy is total.
3) There are no logically consistent rules."

Steve Jobs Dropped The First iPod Prototype Into An Aquarium To Prove A Point - "“Those are air bubbles,” he snapped. “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”"

It's Official—iOS 8 Is Apple's Buggiest Release to Date

Michael Phelps' 'girlfriend' Taylor Lianne Chandler says she was born male - "She had previously detailed their first date, to a Baltimore Ravens games, to the National Enquirer. 'One thing led to the next, and we made love during halftime,' she claims in the interview. 'Later, we had sex again. The intimacy with him was amazing! It was the first time in my life that someone has made me feel like a true woman.' She also told the magazine that she never lied to the swimmer about her past, saying it just never came up"

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