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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Links - 18th July 2018 (2)

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, This Food Will Save Your Life* - "People who have the ability to spend money on things like this and have a certain level of education, and who have a certain philosophical approach where they want to treat themselves with things that are "natural". And what we find is that having more education makes people feel more confident and makes them feel more open to what would otherwise be considered fringe ideas, but doesn't necessarily prepare them with the level of scientific knowledge that you would need or the critical thinking skills that you would need to then deconstruct those claims. You don't get that until you get to like a graduate level of science education. So at the highest levels, then belief in all this stuff drops off like a cliff...
What the wellness industry is, it's essentially the diet industry upgraded for millennials, and then what's gonna happen next is the wellness with industry will recognize the fact that it's getting bad press, so it'll be rebranded, to maybe something like the self care movement...
Your mommy was right, eat your vegetables. If you do that, that gets you like 95% plus the way to a perfect diet and then everything else is seriously diminishing returns. But I think the real problem is the multi billion dollar self help and dieting industry, because you can't make money off that message. It's too simple. There's gotta be enough complexity in there to fill book and to sell it."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Food Confidential - "Hershey's, notoriously... tries to recreate a production process which Mr Hershey had seen in operation in Europe and got the process slightly wrong and ended up with a rather sour tasting chocolate, but then that sold in their millions. So there's certain evidence in history of chocolate, that even if you haven't been able to steal the secret completely, but a half baked secret stolen can still end up being successful product...
Very often, many of the restaurant chains, the strength of their food product is not necessarily that it's the best: it's that there is consistency and you go into that restaurant be in it Beijing, or Birmingham, and it's the same product. And that consistency is the real value in many of the restaurant chains that we're all familiar with."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Claudia Roden: My Life in Five Dishes - "[In the 50s] When my children were at school or nursery I would go to the library and read up the history. And so when I went to the British library, I asked them for any books on Arab food, every one was 13th century. There was no contemporary book on Arab food in the British library. They usually have everything..
In Britain, people didn't really want to eat anything that came from the Middle East at that time. It sounded disgusting to them, the idea of the Middle East, because already they had been at war, but also the countries had been their colonies and they despised them. But also when the English at the time traveled, the English in Egypt would never eat anything local. They ate their own food. And even I remember reading about those who went to discover the Tutankhamun, the big archaeologist, they would have everything sent. Hampers from Harrods when they were the great archaeologist. But if they were a minor one, they would bring their tins"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Fussy Old World - "Food Neophobia. And that's really a fear of anything novel. So a new foods or not wanting to eat something that you haven't eaten before. And food neophobia is actually a pretty common normal developmental phase that most children go through from toddlerhood to the early school years, really. There is an evolutionary theory that children are most open to trying new flavors and new textures when around the weaning time. So it tends to be between four and six months. And if we think about our ancestors, what used to happen was that mom would pick those foods and try those foods and know what those foods are before she gave them to the child. So they were perfectly safe and fine to eat. By the time the child is about 20 months old, they're mobile. So started to walk. And they can go and forage for themselves and they can pick things up and put things into their mouth. And so at that point, the child needs to start to be a bit ... the foods that they tend to be most fearful about are vegetables, which taste bitter, which can be poisonous and can be harmful and protein foods, which also can harbor bacteria and viruses, which can also make them ill... On the other hand, the sorts of foods that children will not struggle to eat: biscuits, crisps, they're foods that very unlikely to cause the child harm. They're also very high in calories and children have very high energy requirements at that particular time because they're growing very quickly, and so it makes sense that children gravitate towards those foods and like them for it provides a survival advantage...
Mixed foods were more likely to be refused and refused in the neophobic period because you couldn't really tell what was in them... when you get to the neophobic it's a lot easier to see similarities between things like biscuits, to say, that's another form of biscuit. I can eat that one. Whereas fruit and vegetables don't look similar. Sources of protein don't look similar to one another..
It can take about 15 offerings with the same food on consecutive days to get a child to even put it into their mouth...
We know that fussy eating actually has a really strong genetic basis, and we know this largely from twin studies. Food fussiness and food neophobia are probably about 50% heritable in the early toddler years. But then by the time children are three, four years old, we're talking about 70 80% heritable, which means that the majority of differences between children's fussiness are explained by genetic differences between children"

'Crusader Kings 2' Used Alt-right Battlecry to Promote Free Steam Download - "Paradox Interactive, publisher of PC grand strategy game Crusader Kings 2, says it has “no tolerance for racist or nationalist organizations” after it faced criticism for using a battlecry of the “alt-right” in a tweet to promote a free download. The Latin expression— Deus Vult or “God wills it”—originated in 1095 in the time of the Crusades"
They need to ban Buddhists from using the swastika too

Confession: I'm A Feminist Who's Flattered By Catcalling - "It wasn’t the only time I’ve been flattered by street harassment — I’ve even happily obliged men who’ve asked me that most offensive of questions: Can you smile, pretty girl? — and it might not even be the last. Indeed, my affinity for catcalls has yet to dim, even as I’ve become more committed to women’s rights issues and more inundated in stories about harassment. When I watched that viral smash video of a woman being catcalled 108 times in a day, my first thought wasn’t, How terrible and sexist! but Wow, she must be really pretty; there’s no way I’d get catcalled that often in a day."

Woman Says Harry Potter Ride 'Fat-Shamed' Her Because She Couldn't Fit, Calls For 'Inclusive' Design Changes - "A plus-sized woman claims she visited the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" and was denied entry onto the Hogwarts ride because her size did not meet safety standards... prior to Jana's entry, a plus-sized friend who previously made the venture cautioned her that this might happen. Jana, however, decided to take her chances... For Jana, the experience indeed "fat-shamed" her and she feels that some of that stemmed from how the Harry Potter series presents "big characters," which reflects the broader culture. "Upon further investigation, the books and movies have only a few big characters and most of them are antagonistic," she writes. "The Fat Lady painting is obnoxious and bossy. The Dursleys are lazy and entitled. Crabbe and Goyle are both fat dunces who follow the orders of the lithe, vampire-looking Draco Malfoy. Hogwarts absolutely condones this and so does the general public." Being unable to participate in the ride made Jana feel like a victim of "size-based discrimination" that she and her community have been combating for years. She claims this discrimination is so insidious that it made her actually wish she "were small enough to take the Hogwarts ride."... She rejects the idea that the Harry Potter ride and other experiences reject plus-sized people for "safety" reasons, instead theorizing that it is to keep the "general public safe from our fatness.""
If she goes on the ride and gets injured she can sue them. So it's a win-win scenario

"Less democracy, better government," says Mason professor - "According to Jones, less democracy would lead to better governance because politicians would be inclined to work on long term growth rather than spending to impress constituents during election season. Politicians try to please the public at the expense of neglecting long-term policies because they are elected through a democratic process... Jones’s overall message was a proposition that less democracy would be better for the economy, but that democracy should not be totally removed. The problem with democracy is that politicians cater to the ignorance of voters to get reelected. But the elimination of democracy could leave intelligent people with bad intentions in charge of the economy."

Mossad ran fake Arous resort in Sudan as front for 1980s operations - "A group of Mossad agents were tasked with smuggling thousands of Jewish refugees in Ethiopia, known as Beta Israelis, from Ethiopia to Israel in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews were stranded in Sudan, a Muslim-majority nation hostile to Israel. The agents had to smuggle the refugees across Sudan, then sailed across the Red Sea or airlifted to Israel. And because Sudan and Israel were enemies, both the Ethiopian Jews and Mossad agents had to keep their identifies hidden."

Meghan Markle will get a fancy new title when she marries Prince Harry — but it's so weird that she'll never use it - "It is highly likely that Markle will become a duchess, like Kate Middleton did. But there’s another title she will gain from the marriage that she will almost certainly never use for anything. In keeping with royal tradition, after she marries Markle can technically be called Princess Henry of Wales. She gets that title from the days when royal spouses took their husband’s name (Prince Harry’s name is not actually Harry, but Henry)."

ISIS and the Intimate Kill - "ISIS’s jihad, as its progenitor Zarqawi well understood, isn’t about winning hearts and minds. It is about breaking hearts and minds. ISIS doesn’t want to convince its detractors and enemies. It wants to command them, if not destroy them altogether. And its strategy for achieving this goal seems to be based on destroying their will through intimate killing. This, in part, is what the group’s staged beheadings are about: They subliminally communicate ISIS’s proficiency in the art of the intimate kill. And this terrifies many people, because they sense just how hard it is to do."

Is there any special significance to beheading in Islam? - "Muhammad's earliest biographer, Ibn-Ishaq, describes how the prophet approved the beheadings of between 600 and 900 men from the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe following the Battle of the Trench. * Decapitation of a dead enemy on the battlefield was the "primary form of symbolic aggression among Ottoman soldiers," according to this history of the Ottoman Empire... Outside the context of warfare, beheadings are accepted as a criminal sanction in parts of the modern Islamic world"

What is a bralette? Lingerie experts explain. - "A bralette is an unstructured bra. It’s usually unlined, unpadded, wire-free"

A new survey shows most women groom their pubic hair. Should we be concerned? - "3 percent of emergency-room patients presenting with trauma to the genital area had sustained their injuries through pubic hair grooming. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for removing pubic hair: to keep it from poking out of a bathing suit; to enhance stimulation during oral sex; to relieve the itching some women experience with a full bush. But implicit and explicit messages from friends, partners, pop culture, and porn still perpetrate the sexual ideal of a bare, prepubescent-looking pubic area... If women do groom their pubic hair for the pleasure and approval of men, it may be in part because there’s a tangible reward system in place. A 28-year-old Slate colleague told me she started waxing off all her pubic hair when her boyfriend “gently” suggested it. “At first I was like, ‘fuck the patriarchy!’” she says. “But I gave in, and then I liked it. Plus, he went down on me more.”"
Interestingly, the only "legitimate" reasons are those which benefit only an idealised self outside of society

Why do lesbians earn more than straight women? - "On average, for every dollar earned by a man in a heterosexual couple, a woman in a heterosexual couple earns 63 cents, while a woman in a same-sex couple earns 79 cents (same-sex coupled men earn 98 cents), according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, which was based on findings in a 2013 report by The Williams Institute’s Gary J. Gates. This is true despite evidence that lesbians, along with gay men, experience more discrimination in the workplace than heterosexuals do; they also have less job satisfaction... lesbians seeking employment in male-dominated fields earn more interviews and are offered higher salaries than gay men are"
If lesbians earn more than straight women for the same reasons men do, that suggests that sexism isn't to blame

How the CIA encouraged citizens under occupation to sabotage their workplaces during World War II. - "The Office of Strategic Services (the CIA's World War II–era precursor) created this document in 1944, for use by operatives in Europe who were trying to recruit civilians living in occupied countries to commit sabotage"

“Hotness” affects student evaluations more than gender. - "some studies report a bias against women, but some note that female instructors receive slightly better ratings... people rely on stereotypes more if there is more uncertainty. If there is less uncertainty, as in an in-class setting, the effects of stereotypes could be expected to be much diminished. Indeed, there is usually no significant gender-based difference in student evaluations for in-class (not online) settings... we gathered data from the correlation between RMP ratings and evaluations is surprisingly—and sufficiently—high... women are overrepresented in the tails of the distribution. In other words, there are relatively more women among professors who are rated as truly amazing and who are perceived as absolutely terrible, with an overrepresentation of male professors sandwiched in between. We want to emphasize how surprised and shocked we were when we saw this. That’s because in virtually all other domains anyone has looked—income, general life outcomes (e.g., having a powerful position vs. being homeless or incarcerated), and even number of offspring—men are overrepresented in the tails of these distributions, with women being overrepresented in the middle. These discrepancies are often attributed to the difference in men’s increased propensity to take risks... is the most important factor in student evaluations the professor’s physical appearance? We refuse to believe that people—even young students—are actually that shallow. As this is purely correlational, we can’t discern if attractive professors get good ratings or if professors who get good ratings are perceived as attractive. There are even other possibilities: Maybe professors who are good at their job are more confident than others and are thus perceived as more attractive. Maybe students “award” a pepper as a reward for a job well done. We can’t discern these possibilities here, but we don’t have to. We just wanted to illustrate what a strong effect looks like, and the effect of perceived physical attractiveness on student ratings is strong, whereas gender effects are not."
Feminist logic might be that due to patriarchy, females are disadvantaged so those who do become instructors are actually better than the men. So if the data don't show female instructors are rated significantly worse, that's still proof of sexism

More details emerge in story of cop who choked black teen after prom — and all is not what it seemed - "Police have been investigating a viral video featuring a Warsaw, North Carolina police officer choking and slamming a young black man up against a wall last week at a Waffle House after he’d taken his 16-year-old sister to prom. The young man, 22-year-old Anthony Wall, is still wearing his tuxedo during the arrest, which saw Wall wrestled to the ground... “The young man came into the township of Warsaw, went into a restaurant, he became disruptive, he brought on the issue, which called for an arrest,” he said. “This young man was irate and doing things and threatening employees.” According to Connors, Wall also started a fight prior to police arrival at the Waffle House. Connors noted that when law enforcement did arrive, Wall refused to cooperate"
It is racist to enforce the law

Male Student Accuses Female Student of Sexual Assault. She Says He Wanted Revenge. - "Roe also contends that it was ridiculous to find her guilty of nonconsensual sex because of Doe's drunkenness, but not find Doe guilty too: Roe was also drunk at the time, so under the rules she was just as unable to consent to sex as he was. While this might seem like a paradox—how can two young people rape each other?—it would actually be a straightforward application of affirmative consent, which requires all participants in a sexual encounter to proactively obtain freely given and unambiguous consent before proceeding... According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Roe said that she was being punished for "engaging in the same sexual freedoms that men on the campus enjoy." It might be more accurate to say she is being held to the same standard—a standard that is, for many reasons, horrible... Here's an alternative theory: Doe woke up, realized they had engaged in sexual activity while they were both drunk, and feared that she would file a complaint against him, as she had done to his friend. Panic-stricken, he felt he had no choice but to beat her to the punch. Indeed, if you suspect you are going to become the subject of a Title IX investigation, the optimal strategy may very well be to file the first complaint. For reasons not completely clear to me, Title IX administrators often appear biased in favor of the initial complainant, and presume the other party is the wrongdoer."

"Unpaid" care work / How hard is it to be a homemaker?

A common feminist complaint is that stay-at-home wives/mothers are do care work for free.

A reasonable critique is that this does not show up in GDP statistics, which undervalues the contribution of women in doing care work.

An unreasonable one is that they are being oppressed and exploited since they are unpaid.

Presumably, feminists think that stay-at-home wives/mothers live off air and water from public water coolers.

In reality, we know that even though stay-at-home wives/mothers do not get a formal salary, they are still receiving remuneration of a sort (otherwise they would be unable to survive). Typically this is in the form of having their bills paid by, and getting an allowance from their (male) partners/husbands. And this doesn't attract taxes!

A related issue is: how hard is it to be a homemaker?

While it is fashionable to claim that this is a very hard "job", further reflection will challenge this thought.

As a friend of mine comments, "it's true that houswives very free lor. my mum is always chasing all the kdramas".

More formally, a homemaker's home role can be seen as a combination of 2 roles performed by non-homemakers - the home role of working adults outside of work and that of a childcare worker (that a homemaker without children has an easy time of it is presumably uncontroversial).

The first role is not that hard, given that so many people do it already (on top of their day jobs).

Perhaps one might say that a homemaker has higher standards to live up to than a working adult. For example a homemaker might vacuum the floor every day rather than a working adult's weekly frequency. But these higher standards are not intrinsic to the role, but are rather self-imposed or socially-imposed.

As for the second role, I don't think people will claim that childcare workers have an extremely demanding job either.

Consider too that childcare workers have multiple children to care for, but a homemaker almost always has fewer (unless she is extremely fecund, but those are rare - for reference in Singapore from 1 January 2012 the minimum carer:child ratio for children aged 18-30 months is 1:8; in the OECD it is on average 1:7 at most).

Of course, a homemaker presumably puts more effort and soul than a childcare worker into taking care of his children, but he also typically has fewer to take care of. In addition, the implications of this for working parents are not something most people are comfortable with (this also ties into the point on higher standards).

Of course, it is not hard to be a homemaker in the sense that special skills or effort are not needed. That doesn't mean that it is not hard in the sense of being easy to bear. I think many people might not be able to be homemakers, as the role is potentially very boring and understimulating.

Links - 18th July 2018 (1)

Yes, median pay at Facebook really is about $240,000 a year - "In 1992, largely in response to rising CEO compensation amid a recession, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered public companies to start disclosing compensation packages for their top executives in a table understandable to shareholders. But instead of reining in compensation, “CEOs got pay envy” when they saw what peers were making, and their pay skyrocketed, said Broc Romanek, editor of TheCorporateCounsel website. Now, he said, companies are “bracing for employee-morale backlash” when workers find out they’re earning less than the median. The problem for employers is that “you could raise everybody’s pay, and still half the people will be below the median”... At first, experts thought they would try to maximize the median to minimize the CEO pay ratio. “Over time the (human resources) community said maybe this is not your goal,” because a higher minimum could result in more disgruntled employees"

'Incel rebellion': The Toronto suspect apparently posted about it. Here's what it means - ""Make no mistake, we do not condone any kind of violence, we never have and never will. Inceldom is completely UNrelated to violence or misogyny," the administrator said in an email. "Yes, some users, like in every community, are more extreme than others in their beliefs, but to make a crude hyperbole: When a muslim commits a terrorist act, people don't claim being a muslim equals being a terrorist. Please don't associate two people who claimed being incel, Elliot Rodger and Alek Minassian, as being representative of the whole incel community, because they are not. "Bottom line is, incel means being unable to get a romantic or sexual partner, it has nothing to do with terrorist acts... The van attack victims were "predominantly female," but there's no evidence Minassian bypassed men or deliberately targeted women"
Maybe incels should commit more terrorist acts, so people will be afraid to criticise them for fear of stigmatising them

FATAH: Soaked in blood, Toronto the Good - "As millions of Canadians waited anxiously for the names of the casualties and the identity of the terrorist, all Canadian networks behaved like Izvestia and Pravda during the Cold War. It was only after CBS News first identified Alek Minassian as the suspect that we learned who had struck horror on our lovely city. This was just one of the issues that caused vigorous debate on social media in Canada. How was it that CBS News was able to identify the name and past record of Alek Minassian, but CBC News could not? Is it possible journalists north of the border have become so terrified of being called racist or right-wing that they would rather compromise their professional standards than face harassment by left-wing trolls? Trolls who it seemed were in mass communal prayers hoping the killer would turn out to be a White Male Christian. One reporter from a Canadian network who tweeted eyewitnesses as identifying the killer being of “Middle Eastern” appearance met a ferocious backlash by the now familiar alliance of the left and Islamists. He quickly deleted his tweet and went into hibernation from then on. On a personal level, when I posted a CP24 interview of an eye-witness saying, “the suspect was of a darker colour, I would say Middle Eastern,” all hell broke loose. Among the barrage of allegations that I was a racist (not the eye-witness), one fellow tweeted: “Both father and daughter should be locked up. F—— hate mongers.” With me, he was attacking my daughter CBC host Natasha Fatah who too had tweeted multiple eye witnesses saying the attacker looked “Middle Eastern” and another who said he was “white.” The fact that Minassian did turn out to be Middle Eastern — from the Armenian diaspora that lives in Iran, Lebanon, Syria — was of little interest to those hell bent on harassing Natasha. They were busy putting their own spin on the tragedy — outward sorrow, but barely concealed inner joy at the fact jihadis would not have to undergo scrutiny."

Opinion | The Redistribution of Sex - The New York Times - "If we are concerned about the just distribution of property and money, why do we assume that the desire for some sort of sexual redistribution is inherently ridiculous? After all, he wrote, “one might plausibly argue that those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organizing around this identity, to lobby for redistribution along this axis and to at least implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met.”... Hanson’s post made me immediately think of a recent essay in The London Review of Books by Amia Srinivasan, “Does Anyone Have the Right To Sex?” Srinivasan, an Oxford philosophy professor, covered similar ground (starting with an earlier “incel” killer) but expanded the argument well beyond the realm of male chauvinists to consider groups with whom The London Review’s left-leaning and feminist readers would have more natural sympathy — the overweight and disabled, minority groups treated as unattractive by the majority, trans women unable to find partners and other victims, in her narrative, of a society that still makes us prisoners of patriarchal and also racist-sexist-homophobic rules of sexual desire."

Education at a Crossroads, by Dr. Thomas Sowell - "What makes Mrs. DeVos seem so threatening to the teachers' unions and their political allies? She has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend — whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools. Some of these charter schools — especially those in the chain of the Success Academy schools and the chain of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools — operate in low-income, minority neighborhoods in the inner-cities, and turn out graduates who can match the educational performances of students in affluent suburbs. What is even more remarkable, these charter schools are often housed in the very same buildings, in the very same ghettoes, where students in the regular public schools fail to learn even the basics in English or math. You and I may think this is great. But, to the teachers' unions, such charter schools are a major threat to their members' jobs — and ultimately to the unions' power or existence... Mrs. DeVos has shown for more than 20 years that she thinks schools exist to educate children. One of the biggest complaints about her is that, unlike Secretaries of Education before her, she does not come out of the government's education establishment. Considering what a miserable job that establishment has done, especially in inner-city schools, her independence is a plus. Teachers' unions have fought for years to prevent charter schools from being created. Now that such schools have been created, and there are now huge waiting lists, the teachers' unions have gotten politicians to put a numerical cap on the number of such schools, regardless of how large the waiting lists are... She is accused of "steering public dollars away from traditional public schools." But nobody can steer anything anywhere, when it is individual parents who make the decisions as to where they want their children educated... If charter schools educate one-third of the students in a district, and get one-third of the money, how does that reduce the amount of money per child in the public school? Actually, charter schools usually get less money per student, but produce better results."

Does ‘decimate’ mean ‘destroy one tenth’? - OxfordWords blog - "Most people have a linguistic pet peeve or two, a useful complaint about language that they can sound off about to show other people that they know how to wield the English language. Most of these peeves tend to be rather irrational, a quality which should in no way diminish the enjoyment of the complainer. A classic example of this is the word decimate. The complaint about the word typically centers on the fact that decimate is used improperly to refer to ‘destroying a large portion of something’, when the ‘true’ meaning of the word is ‘to put to death (or punish) one of every ten’. There are several problems with this complaint. The first, and most obvious, is that language has an ineluctable desire to change, and there are almost no words in English which have been around for more than a few hundred years without taking on new meanings, changing their old ones, or coming to simultaneously mean one thing and the opposite (a type of word known as a contronym). But the claim that decimate should be used to mean naught but to ‘put to death (or destroy) one of every ten’ has deeper problems than that. For it is not at all clear that this punitive sense is indeed the earliest definition of the word... given that these two meanings of decimate appeared almost simultaneously, why are we so obsessed with assigning the punitive meaning to the word? A likely answer is that people are falling prey to what is known as the Etymological Fallacy, a tendency to believe that a word’s current meaning should be dictated by its roots. Unfortunately for the etymological purists, decimate comes from the Medieval Latin word decimatus, which means ‘to tithe’. The word was then assigned retrospectively to the Roman practice of punishing every tenth soldier. So, next time you attend a symposium (etymologically, drinking partner) with someone sinister (etymologically, left-handed), and they launch into a tirade about the misuse of this word, you’ll be able to decimate their argument in no time at all."

Rape Culture in Singapore – Is it really that different from Delhi? - "Many are outraged at the circumstances of women in India and in other countries, and are quick to voice their gratefulness for the treatment of women in Singapore where women are much freer to wear what they desire and travel when they want, without fearing for their lives or dignity. As an immigrant myself, I truly appreciate the security and freedom enjoyed by women in this regard, especially compared to my country of origin. I agree it is certainly something to be very proud of. However, although women in Singapore enjoy a significant degree of freedom in their fashion choices and their travel decisions unlike women in India, this does not automatically discount the notion that a similar mentality with regards to feminine sexuality exists here in Singapore"
Good proof of feminist hysteria

Walter Theseira - Many people think I argue we should stop CPF... - "My view is that the CPF system tries to do a little too much, and we should consider focusing CPF on retirement and health. I do believe there is some over-investment in housing, which creates retirement risks if housing values do not grow, and this over-investment is because Singaporeans see housing as a way of unlocking their CPF funds. A CPF system focused on retirement and health would require lower contribution rates, and allow people more choices in using their higher take-home income on housing, investments, business, and family."

MW02 – Norse Raiders | The History Network - "We're dealing with a bit of an extraordinary case with the Vikings because in history it's usually the victors that are writing it but in this case it's very much the victims"

MW04 – Medieval Undead Armies | The History Network - "The modern catch all undead really doesn't do justice to the wide variety of terms used in Medieval Latin to talk about them. But the so called undead in the Middle Ages were typically not malevolent. They were typically communicative and helpful and if they were seeming, if they did seem to be bad or dangerous it was usually with a particular purpose because obligations to them hadn't been fulfilled and once those obligations were fulfilled then usually they were laid to rest... we use the undead these days as a kind of locus for anxieties about science run amok, or about disease or I think, I think twenty or thirty years ago shambling masses of unthinking people were wonderful metaphors for Communism and other things that Americans were worried about... humans can intercede on behalf of dead souls to help get them to the place they need to get"

Which medieval battle would you like to witness? - Episode 7 of the Medieval Warfare Podcast - Karwansaray Publishers Blog - "Saladin after the Battle of Hattin. When Guy de Lusignan, the king of Jerusalem, and Renaud de Chatillon, one of the worst individuals who ever crossed this earth, and certainly stupid individual. The guys behind the battle just led them to a huge defeat. They go in and they’ve been thirsting for three days. There’s Saladin first giving thanks to Allah for victory, and then turning around and grabbing a bowl of ice cream... Camel teams bringing huge ice blocks off the top of the mountains in Palestine, melting all the way, but having that last little bit at the end. He’s eating the ice cream as he talks, as he looks at these individuals"

MW13 – The Warriors of Valhalla | The History Network - "'Snorri, as kind of a Christian writer, talking about Nordic pagan religion and pagan ideas, how was he able to reconcile writing about that?'
'Well, he's very careful in what he does with the tales because he creates a prologue in which he explains that the Norse Gods weren't really Gods at all, but they were refugees from Troy. And after the fall of Troy, they made their way to Scandinanvia, and because they were clever and sophisticated and had good technology, people worshipped them as gods.'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Kant's Categorical Imperative - "It's not just enough to do the right thing. It's not just enough to have a plan to do the right thing. You've got to do the right thing for the right reasons. He uses an example of a shopkeeper who doesn't rip off his customers. He keeps his prices the same for everybody - that's the right thing to do. But what has been the shopkeeper's motivations? His motivation is if it got out that I was ripping people off I'd be ruined. So it's very just prudential reasoning. However another shopkeeper might keep his prices the same price simply because it's the right thing to do...
What if someone has for example masochistic desires? Doesn't mind receiving pain every so often. Does the golden rule then sanction that they can inflict pain on others now and again?... perhaps, someone would reason, it's okay for me never to help someone so long as I never receive any help. That satisfies the Golden Rule...
If you cut through the verbiage of Kant, and Kant is full of verbiage and technical jargon and just obscurantism - he's responsible for all the content of philosophy as we have it today...
Where do you draw the line? Where do you draw - okay if you're prepared to lie to save a life are you prepared to lie to stop someone from being hurt? Are you prepared to lie if it means that you'll get a promotion and find a cure for cancer? Are you prepared to lie in some - basically I think where do you draw the line is ultimately what he's sayinng. I actually admire him for that - that he holds the line on lying, unlike pretty much every other philosopher. I'm actually with him on that, I know it's not - it's a minority view. I think there are aspects in Kant which are incredibly uplifting and quite noble in a really good way. Kant is a, whatever you think about Kant, he's a philosopher of uplift. You don't read Kant coming away - you might come away feeling pessimistic about the chances of reason to actually know anything, but you do come away as far as morality is concerned - he really cares, he really cares about morality"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Hamlet - "It was an immediate success and has since become his best known work around the world and the most quoted...
Marrying your deceased husband's brother... not so uncommon, especially in the context of royal families but also the Bible ambiguous about whether that degree of affinity was incestuoIn the past it was thought that there were many different species of giant squids - they live in all the world's oceans apart from the polar regions and around the equator. So it would be obvious to think that there is a European species, a South African species, an Asian species but actually using this specimen of giant squid taken dna and comparing it to other freshly caught and well preserved specimens around the world it's actually suggested there's only one species of giant squid worldwide which wasn't what we expected at allus or not... Leviticus forbids it but Deuteronomy urges it but crucially if there is no child"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Cicero - "What really made his name actually was a legal prosecution that he brought in the year seventy against a former governor of Sicily who was being accused of extortion, bribery, murder, corruption on a vast scale. And Cicero prosecuted this man. He went to Sicily where he had previously served in a lower office, collected amazing trunks and depositions of evidence, came back and won the case against Rome's greatest advocate at the time and that was really the moment that he stepped out from the ranks of strivers and became someone to be reckoned with.'
'Winning's rather a mild word. He was so strong that the chap Verres fled the city before the end of the trial... and Cicero being Cicero... published all that he was going to say had the man stayed there'...
The irony was that he had been a younger man whom Cicero had befriended in earlier years and then at a certain point they, there was a political parting of the ways. Claudius was someone who violated, flirted with violating and ultimately transgressively violated Roman civic norms. So the nadir of his career was being found out to have dressed up in women's clothing and insinuated himself into the inner sanctum where religious rites were being practiced that only women were supposed to witness...
[In exile Cicero] moaned quite a lot. He wrote letters to lots of people"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Cephalopods - "In the past it was thought that there were many different species of giant squids - they live in all the world's oceans apart from the polar regions and around the equator. So it would be obvious to think that there is a European species, a South African species, an Asian species but actually using this specimen of giant squid taken dna and comparing it to other freshly caught and well preserved specimens around the world it's actually suggested there's only one species of giant squid worldwide which wasn't what we expected at all"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Frederick Douglass - "He campaigned for equal rights for African Americans arguing against those such as Lincoln who had wanted freed slaves to leave America and found a colony elsewhere... Before eighteen thirty generally speaking the justification for slavery is it's a necessary evil. So in effect is something that's been entailed on the United States and it's very hard to get rid of and many of the founders in particular contrast the British emancipation struggle where in effect Britain is charged with emancipating slaves who will become free in the Caribbean with their problem dilemma which is if they free slaves they'll have to live alongside them. So in a sense the problem of anti slavery in the United States is also a problem of integration... in effect what you don't get even amongst the anti slavery campaigners is a commitment to integration and equality - it's a commitment to expulsion"
More on the bigot and racist Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Links - 17th July 2018 (2)

Michelle Obama Declares Herself America’s ‘Forever First Lady’
If someone else had tried that...

Doctor accused of rape: No conclusive evidence found on his and alleged victim’s clothing - "the police had retrieved the victim’s panties from a pail of water in her kitchen on the afternoon of Dec 31, 2015 — the day after the alleged crime — where she had left it soaking for at least 11 hours... Ms Jolena Tan, an analyst from the Health Sciences Authority, testified to finding no interpretable DNA profiles on several items that the victim and Wee were wearing on the night of the alleged rape."
Moral of the story: male doctors need to get a witness when there's a female patient

Doctor accused of rape: Patient's genital infection meant thought 'didn't even cross my mind' - "A doctor accused of molesting and raping a 23-year-old woman during her two visits to his clinic in 2015 said he would not have entertained the idea because he knew she had a genital infection. The woman, now 26, told the High Court last week, that Dr Wee Teong Boo, 67, had told her to take off her shorts and underwear during a medical examination and subsequently raped her in the early hours of Dec 31, 2015. Wee denies her claims... "How would that arouse me? I'm a professional, (the thought) doesn't even cross my mind. The whole episode is very unfair to me"... he went for a full body check-up with a urologist of his own accord following the rape allegations as he had been suffering from issues of erectile dysfunction. He said: "I'm not impotent, but it takes a longer time for me to achieve erection." He explained that he did not seek help earlier as he "was not bothered by it before and still (is) not bothered by it now". He added that he was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate and lower than normal levels of testosterone in 2016."

Doctor accused of rape: Victim’s injuries could have been due to other causes, defence argues - "The wounds could also have been caused by someone inserting his fingers into the victim's private parts, Dr Tung acknowledged. According to Mr Pereira, Wee had seen redness around the victim's itchy area on the night of the alleged incident and decided to do some investigations to rule out pelvic inflammatory disease. Wee inserted his fingers, and the victim then informed him that she felt slight discomfort, Mr Pereira said... Mr Pereira also questioned why the victim had only suffered a shallow tear and small wounds [to her hymen], if Wee had indeed subjected her to multiple forceful thrusts during the alleged rape, as she had claimed."

You might not like how we train Army recruits, but they need to be tough or they'll die - "An Army instructor is facing a court martial after a video of him shouting abuse at a young female recruit has gone viral. He’s in trouble because of having filmed the scene without the recruit’s consent, but what seems to have shocked most of the 300,000-plus viewers of the clip is his language. “Are you a f------ killer or a mouse?” he shouts. “What you crying for? Show me your war face!” Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army has described the corporal’s behaviour as “totally unacceptable”. Filming the tirade was out of line. But what he says? Sorry, but I’ve heard far worse than that in my time. I’ve dished it out too, when I was a corporal training young recruits myself. When you’re teaching young men and women to become soldiers, you’re taking people from the real world and putting them into another world. We’re not forming a knitting circle: the job spec of a soldier is to destroy the enemy in close combat... If you don’t train them to have the mental and physical ability to carry out that task, they’re going to die and we’re going to lose. Yes there are people’s rights, and the politically correct atmosphere we all live in now, but in the Army, this is what we do, and this is how we do it... a bit of shouting? That’s how we do it. At the end of the day, we’re a volunteer army. If you don’t like it you can leave, but the army has a saying that has been learnt the hard way. “Train hard, fight easy. Train easy, fight hard and die.” To think men and women don’t or shouldn’t be affected by this stuff is wrong. But if they do, maybe they need to be looking at doing another job."

It is now very difficult to earn back money on LTA’s Travel Smart Rewards scheme - "just like a good novel, it ain’t that straightforward anymore, after the scheme was “enhanced” in April 2017."

Young, and a mum twice over: Study sheds light on successive pregnancies among girls - "Nearly one in three girls and young women seen by the hospital’s Clinic for Adolescent Pregnancy had a subsequent pregnancy before the age of 21... Babes has tried visiting secondary schools to raise awareness of the help available but Ms Vejan said it is not always welcome as the schools may not want to be perceived as having higher rates of teenage pregnancies than others... The study also found Malays making up more than six in 10 of the 470 cases seen at KKH’s clinic, and Dr Suzanna suggested organisations with strong links with the Malay community could be more active in delivering sexual health education at an earlier stage to the target group."
Knock me up once, shame on you. Knock me up twice, shame on me

'Whistling in tune is easier than singing', scientists conclude - "it is harder to sing than whistle in tune, which is why so many of us fall flat trying to hit a high note. Whistling is simpler because ancient humans involved had to control their lips and tongue early on"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Britain orders Russians out - "The President, for all his flamboyant firing of apprentices on reality TV doesn't actually like to fire people in person. So in the end he took to Twitter, without even talking to his Secretary of State... State department officers didn't like the way their boss was treated, but they didn't much like their boss either. He turned out to be a terrible manager who triggered an exodus of experienced staff and gummed up the working of the building with his insular micromanaging team of aides. Good riddance was the reaction of one employee. Maybe the mechanics of operating here will improve now, said another... What would you rather have?, a former State Department official asked me darkly during one of those many moments when we contemplated a Rexit: the incompetence and solid policies of a Tillerson, or the competence and dangerous policies of a Pompeo... There's a virtual consensus amongst Washington's chattering classes that Tillerson was a bad Secretary of state, but he did serve as a check on some of Trump's most controversial impulses. Pompeo is a Trump loyalist who can be expected to amplify and enable those instincts, but crucially he has the President's confidence so he can speak with authority to foreign governments. Something Rex Tillerson could not do."

'Strip': Cornell student Letitia Chai gives thesis in underwear - "Cornell University senior Letitia Chai gave her honors thesis in front of a room of fellow students on Saturday after she stripped down to her underwear... during a trial run for her presentation, a professor questioned her about the shorts she was wearing in front of the other students in the room... Chai alleged that Rebekah Maggor, an assistant professor in the performing and media arts department, told her that her shorts were "too short" and that Chai would be making a "statement" with her clothes during her presentation. She also, allegedly, told Chai she would attract "men's attention" away from her presentation with the way she was dressed. When a male international student in the class spoke up to say a speaker has a "moral obligation" to dress conservatively for the audience during a thesis presentation, Chai left the room. Maggor later told the student newspaper in an email that she does not tell her students what to wear, "nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress. I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.” According to The College Fix, the syllabus for Maggor's public speaking course warns students that their attire will be scrutinized. Students are told to wear clothes and footwear that are comfortable and allow free range of movement. They are told to dress appropriately for the "persona" they will present... After she went public, some of the other students in the room at the time released a written statement describing their version of what had happened, accusing Chai of unfairly representing the professor's words and actions."
Maybe she will go to a job interview in shorts and not get it and accuse the company of being sexist

ABC under fire for 'lefty lunacy' segment about nappy consent - "The ABC has come under fire for airing a segment in which a 'sexuality expert' calls for parents to not change nappies without asking for their child's consent... Deanne Carson talks about how to establish a 'culture of consent' in homes, starting at birth... 'Many children never want you to change their nappy. Asking them for consent is a serious indication of severe mental problems. Nappies must be changed to prevent serious skin damage and pain for the child. 'What is worse is the fact the ABC actually spent our tax dollars on this moronic opinion.'... 'Troll me all you want, add to your blog inches, but remember that when you do, you are negating the voices of these brave survivors of sexual abuse.' "
Ah... Australia
Apparently disagreeing with a "brave survivor of sexual abuse" is the same as negating his voice
No true feminist puts sugar in her porridge
Elsewhere: "Danny Snee said it was “an insult to genuine sexual assault victims to compare their experience to a baby having a nappy changed without giving the right expressions.”"

FACT CHECK: Did a Sexuality Educator Say Parents Should Ask Babies' Permission for Diaper Changes? - "MOSTLY FALSE"
Luckily the video is available for everyone to watch. Looks like Snopes needs factcheckers to factcheck it. Those who think Snopes has any credibility for its political partisanship masquerading as fact checking would insist the earth was flat if Brietbart and/or the Daily Mail said it was round

He was one of millions of Chinese seniors growing old alone. So he put himself up for adoption. - The Washington Post - "“Looking for someone to adopt me.” “Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB [$950] a month,” he wrote. “I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”"

Let’s talk about Donald Trump vs. the ‘deep state’ - The Washington Post - "Donald J. Trump is the president of the United States. While occupying that office, he deserves to have his national security team fairly present all the viable options available to him. It is precisely this kind of deck-stacking that fosters “deep state” paranoia in the first place."
The Washington Post is now a far right tabloid

Is There Room in Diversity For White People? - "Today’s college administrators increasingly frame diversity and inclusion as lessons that must be learned by whites alone—and they’re lessons that too often unfold as interventions that force whites to regard themselves less as full partners in diversity than an obstacle to be overcome so that other constituencies might thrive. (This flows from another favored academic trope, the concept of the zero-sum society, wherein white success necessarily comes at the expense of non-white failure.) Colleges require the injection of units—if not whole introductory courses—on diversity in major subject areas “from physics to forestry,” as the Atlantic put it, and syllabi confirm the prevailing view of whiteness as something of an anachronistic disease that, like cholera, has no place in modern life... academic theorists crusade to purge whiteness from STEM courses, because critical thinking and research are regarded as tools of “white hegemony.”... a UC-Irvine professor condemns even “technical prowess” as a white male construct. A Linfield college Gender Studies professor even condemns her peers for putting “stellar” colleagues in leadership roles, because stellar individuals, she notes, tend to be white and thus have benefited unfairly from “a logic of meritocracy that is built on this racist assumption that everyone has had the same access and opportunities.” UCLA pays students a stipend to act as professional social justice activists who will diagnose, expose, and combat “whiteness” and “the patriarchy” in all campus manifestations... Today’s white college students have little to do with the active bigotry of the past; treating them as if they arrive on campus with some endemic moral deficit is almost certain to foment a stronger sense of racial identity among students who deem the attacks unwarranted. (77 percent of today’s freshmen describe themselves as somewhere between liberal and middle-of-the-road.) No matter how erudite the packaging, labeling a race “depraved” is the textbook definition of bigotry (if not, some might argue, an institutionally sanctioned hate crime). Consider, too, the implications for black self-reliance. It seems unhelpful to suggest to blacks that resolving the gap in minority performance remains a problem that somehow falls to whites; this undercutting of black agency subliminally echoes the very paternalism that colleges decry... On the meta level, these campaigns reinforce the legitimacy of racist thinking itself: if it is permissible to link whiteness and depravity, why is it not permissible to link blackness and criminality?"

Palestinians should ‘shut up’ or make peace, Saudi crown prince told Jewish leaders - "The crown prince of Saudi Arabia reportedly harshly criticized Palestinian leadership during a meeting with American Jewish organizations in New York last month, slamming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for rejecting peace offers. “In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told the Jewish organizations, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 reported Sunday for Axios. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.” “People literally fell off their chairs,” said a source who was briefed on the meeting... During his American tour, MBS told “60 Minutes” that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was “very much like Hitler.” He also told The Atlantic that Israelis “have the right to their own land.”"
Maybe Muslims will say he's a Mossad agent

What I Learned In My Women’s Studies Classes - "since knowledge itself is considered a patriarchal construct, feminist theories are the organizing principles of classes. The theoretical backbone of women’s studies is grounded in three main conjectures: that of the patriarchy, intersectional oppression, and social constructionism. None of these contentions can be proven or falsified. Yet, as a student, good grades are contingent on agreeing with them... merely mentioning biological differences can be wrongthink. Or worse, as I learned in one of my classes, it can be upsetting to genderqueer or transgender students. Thus, some of the root causes of what makes men and women differ — hormonal, neurological, and biological differences — is left out of the discussion. Mentioning dissident academics is also wrongthink. For example, during a discussion on intersex individuals, I earnestly recalled an article I read by well-known academic Alice Dreger. “Transphobic and problematic,” my professor tisked. We were also taught that our personal experiences were forms of knowledge, “lived experience.” This is why discussions that began with students rhapsodizing on feminist theory often devolved into emotional overindulgence. Class discussions trend towards group-therapy sessions... the thick academic prose of feminist scholars confers gravitas to what otherwise could resemble political propaganda. “The patriarchy is the root cause of everything! Fight it now!”… if only the word patriarchy was replaced with capitalism, it’d be similar to communist propaganda. It’s no coincidence that many of my former professors had academic backgrounds in Marxism. In fact, it makes sense now, since redistribution of privilege (and not just capital) is an imperative for a utopian post-oppression society... teaching students how to view the world through the lens of oppression isn’t just dangerous, but cruel. Nothing is more oppressive than having your professors teach you that you’re a victim."

Feminism Blinds Students to the Truth About Men - "At a school where acknowledging intersectionality is de rigueur, one would expect to encounter dialogue about issues that men face too. However, after two years here, I have never witnessed students or professors broach the topic in a positive way. What’s more alarming is how often female peers display conspiratorial glee when they make fun of and delegitimize men’s issue... When I started taking Women’s Studies classes 4 years ago, I was seduced by feminist ideology. Mentally tabulating my oppression cards became a hobby. Unfortunately, being steeped in feminism didn’t just make me blind to the truth about men—it made me actively resist learning about it. Thankfully, while feminism taught me that women were on the losing side of everything—real life taught me that disadvantage is more nuanced than that... 85% of black homicide victims are male. The last time I brought this up in a conversation, a white feminist scoffed and said “well that’s their fault,” which implied that victims of gang violence somehow deserved it. That’s similar to the victim-blaming we see with reference to rape. When men lose out, women lose out too. Many of these men are fathers, husbands, and sons"
So much for feminism being for/helping men too
It's no coincidence that these attitudes mirror that of the feminist who told me that women doing better in school despite "patriarchy" means that it's men's fault they are unable to compete despite being "privileged"

Smells and Making things taste good

Jon Batiste, Gail Simmons, and Strange Smells | Tell Me Something I Don't Know

"A lot of diseases like cancer and even Parkinson have a scent signature because it does change how the body processes things and there's even the case of a nurse in Britain Joy Milne who actually can smell by the sweat of patients, so she can smell some, whether somebody has Parkinson so it is possible. It's just that we don't pay attention...

You had thirty two Berkeley undergrads, hungry undergrads trying to trace the scent of chocolate. They found it, not only in the same movement as the dog but with training they got better. So it's not that we can't do, it's just that we don't pay attention and we don't crawl on all fours which dogs do all the time and why do they do that, because this is where the scents are...

The neat fact is that in total, take time working for pay, time working at home - men and women in this country and many others but not all rich countries do about the same amount of work in total... [Ed: In other words, the Second Shift doesn't mean women do more work overall]

'They don't like the smell of manure'

'Well we called it fresh country air'...

This idea that smell causes disease is referred to as the miasma theory, which stated that diseases... were caused by bad smell or bad air. Some say the theory extended to other conditions as well... gale. It was once thought that one could become obese simply by inhaling the odor of food...

'Do food companies that you work with, or maybe chefs include flavors that are meant to be difficult, challenging, etcetera, knowing that people may not quite like them or find them pleasurable, but somehow the knowledge that they're consuming, this thing that is challenging or difficult makes them like the product or the dish more'...

'The really classic example is Red Bull... you would find it in a refrigerator next to similar products that cost half as much and were twice the size. So it was trying to do something quite difficult. It had a very strong and specific claim about energy. So they could have made it taste as nice as possible, but they didn't. They made it taste like it worked'...

'They added a lot of sugar... it had a very medicinal, very different distinctive flavour'...

'Cough syrup doesn't actually have to taste bad... they just flavored that way to make us feel like it's making us better'...

It's no surprise that people buy products that taste bad... outside of China, the best selling beer in the world is Bud Light...
Bud Light doesn't necessarily taste great, but it's inoffensive, which works well if you wanna be a global beer...

The best example we've seen of people making purchasing decisions that don't line up with a blind taste test is Pepsi and Coke. So a professor at Baylor performed this blind taste test with subjects, hooked up to an FMRI machine and in blind taste tests most people preferred Pepsi and Pepsi is associated with this higher level of activity in an area of the brain, which helps evaluate different flavors. In a non blind taste, Coke was always more popular.

And the thinking was that it's the marketing and ad campaigns that overrides the taste buds. An alternative, more scientific theory is that while we may prefer sweeter chocolates or the sweeter Pepsi in a taste test with just a small sample that doesn't represent the way we actually consume food or drinks. So while we may prefer the sweeter Pepsi by the sip, we prefer the taste of Coke by the bottle."

Links - 17th July 2018 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Plastic straw and cotton bud ban - "Something very striking was reported by the European Union, actually, a little earlier this year, which is that of all the countries in the EU, Britain is the country with the warmest attitude to migration from outside the EU. We’re the most immigration-friendly country in the EU... Now outside the European Union we can have a truly colorblind migration policy that we can, if the British people want to, treat people from the Bahamas in the same as we treat people from Bulgaria"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Historic Korean summit - "'I doubt if the collapsing mountain was a big factor. Remember that Kim Jong Un has plenty of people and lots of pickaxes. If he wanted to build a new nuclear test site he could do so. What it's more the sanctum bringing North Korea to the table or is it a position of strength? Quite possibly a bit of both, and a bit too of other factors. For example we now have a relatively liberal president of South Korea with whom the North feels it might be able to do business and of course it's possible that things are going on inside Pyongyang that we can't see. That Kim Jong Un now believes he is strong enough to make big bold gestures...
Sometimes covering hope as a journalist can be more difficult than covering fear. Because it's hard to know where we go with this. There's not going to be a quick fix"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The secret to productivity at work - "In Britain the average person spends 2 days a week in meetings... fabulous work by a guy called Sandy Pentland for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He looked at the contribution of different things to our productivity. Now chat, conversations - face to face conversations, account for 40% of our productivity. Meetings account for close to 0...
We've entered this era where it's so easy now to put a meeting on someone's calendar. Effectively any gap seems like it's crying out for it and I always think of Charles Dickens... productive, he got the job done. 15 novels, 200 short stories, edited a weekly magazine. He didn't work afternoons. If Charles Dickens was working now, people would be asking him to jump on a call at 3 o'clock"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Attenborough on plants, plastic and extinction - "'Sometimes in the past, nature programmes including your own have come under criticism for not highlighting problems enough. There was a nature broadcaster talking about Planet Earth saying these programmes are still made as if this worldwide mass extinction is simply not happening'
'Yes, that certainly was a criticism, but I would defend the fact that occasionally you want to do a programme about zoology. You want to do a programme about natural history. And whether a animal is rare or whether it;s not rare is not the primary point of that particular programme. If you wanted to do a programme about monkeys, why shouldn't you show the range of monkeys that there are? And if you're doing a different kind of programme which is what is the danger about these particular areas of Africa or what, that's a different thing. But to say, as some people once said that it's a lie to show a monkey that's out there because it's endangered. That's not a lie. It is what that particular species of monkey is like. It's what we're talking about. And there's a time and a place for all these things. But we've been doing programmes about conservation, particularly about conservation. I think it'll be a great mistake if you decide that every time you put on a natural history programme you had to end up by saying: and by the way, these species are all endangered and it's all your fault. That is not what people need to know, necessarily about every natural history programme"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday’s business with Rob Young - "Even free traders are saying that Trump has brought the other parties, the trading partners to the negotiating table. So such as Germany now are fighting with France to get permission to lower their tariffs on American automobiles. Because America's a big market. So if you view Trump's threats of high tariffs as a negotiating strategy to get a better trade deal, Rupert would be for it"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Facebook's world changes - "Inconsistent standards and loopholes. How many people have had their bank cards defrauded by criminals and their accounts emptied? When this happened to me I was told that it was relatively common. Steps could be taken but in some ways it was easier to retain the existing system and pay out against the losses. That is not a measure of resilience...
1.2 billion baguette containing ham and butter were consumed last year, compared to 1.4 billion burgers. The first time the traditional French food has been outsold...
What can you do with a ham baguette sandwich? I mean not very much. And a lot of them extremely bad quality. A lot of ham is industrial ham, you can get very very poor baguette - industrially produced versions of the jambon fromage sandwich which you can get in your average boulangerie and they will be very very poor quality... you can make very very good hamburgers and you can Frenchify it with a bit of Tomme des Pyrénées or whatever it is instead of processed cheese... France is not as we like to think sometimes a place apart. It is part of the world, it is globalising and it was because the country felt itself to be different because we like to think of it as being different that these stories kept coming up...
The sit down meal, kind of lunch is something which you still see up to a point around Paris, but I mean much less. All around, near where the BBC is, near the Champs Elysees there used to be several traditional brasseire kind of places where you could go and have a sitdown meal, absolutely classic style with a lovely I don't know andouilette with a creamy sauce on it, whatever. And your coffee and your pudding and a bit of wine if you wanted it. Those places are disappearing. On the street where I'm talking to you from now, what's replacing them are trendy takeaway places where you can get high quality salads, Japanese food, fusion food, Peruvian-Japanese fusion food - all this kinda stuff is going on here as it is everywhere else of course. And the French are perfectly happy to accept it, I mean they hope it doesn't happen at the expense of their traditional fare but up to a point it is happening at the expense of their traditional fare"

The Vietnam War on film - History Extra - "As one Vietnamese American writer, one said, when Americans talk about the Vietnam War, too often, they're talking just about themselves. And that is absolutely true in Hollywood versions of the conflict and in documentaries and books rarely are the Vietnamese perspectives represented accurately and in full dimensionality...
'The war was begun in good faith by decent people'...
'What we were speaking about there was the original American impulse to get involved in Indochina. And that was during the Second World War... the precursor of the CIA sent operatives there to help Ho Chi Minh in his fight against the Japanese... the original impulse was, as in many American impulses at that time, was that we were trying to do the right thing to help people around the world...
I did develop more compassion for our leaders. I think the decisions they made were tragic and wrong in case after case after case, but in reading their memos and hearing their voices on tape, because we have secret tape recordings of Johnson and Nixon and Kennedy, I developed a deeper understanding of them as human beings and how they operated and who they talked to and how they spoke and how they thought. And so they became more real to me more three dimensional. And that is important because I think we tend, Americans anyway, to think about our presidents in particular, larger than life icons, who they might be all good or all bad, but they're not three dimensional human beings to us mostly"

Medieval bodies - History Extra - "[On blood letting] If someone was conceived in this very sensible, rational, well authenticated system - this is an authoritative system. It stretches back by the even by the year, 600 stretches back a good thousand years. And people have been writing and thinking, this is a serious paradigm. That's extremely hard to step out of it. It's been like someone postulating today that DNA doesn't really exist. It's very hard to move outside of the parameters of your time convincingly and successfully...
A useful way I think, to think about religion in the Middle Ages is to think about to sort of compare it to how we think about gravity today. We don't go around patting ourselves on the back saying, isn't it a good job that Newtonian physics... don;t float off the surface of the earth? Nice one! Nice one, gravity. Well played! But at the same time, it's a fundamental of how we understand our world. We just go about our daily life and that is how our feet stay on the ground... It's not necessarily something that everyone might walk around and talk about all the time, informs everything that everyone does at every waking moment. But what it does do is provide a baseline for how people understand things like creation, salvation"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The 'Disneyland' of Food? - "They think that we heat pasta in plate every day. No. I used to eat tortellini for Easter, for Christmas and three time a year if there was a marriage... just for special occasion because if you want to prefer the fitting, the real fitting of the tortellini you spend three days"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, I Won't Farm! - "The definition of youth isn't universal. In the UN its fifteen to twenty four. In the African Union it's fifteen to thirty five. But in Somalia you are still classed as young until the age of forty"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, In Search of Wine's 'Holy Grail' - "To many is the holy grail of wine - rich, ripe flavors without high alcohol levels. Here's the problem - more mature grapes typically produce bolder flavors, but they also have more sugar which means a wine with more ethanol. Over the past thirty years consumer tastes for richer flavors and rising temperatures have led to a two percent increase in the global average alcohol content of wine. Fifteen or sixteen percent wines like the one I'm about to drink are no longer uncommon and this is something many scientists, health professionals, wine growers and drinkers see as a problem. As well as the obvious health concerns, alcohol in large quantities can destroy the taste"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Gordon Ramsay: My Life in Five Dishes - "My first two weeks in Paris under Guy Savoy was just the most extraordinary fourteen days. The first thing he taught me was a broccoli soup. So I got the head of broccoli, I took off all the little florets, put the water up to boil, boiled the little florets of broccoli and then he saved this water. And the water was put through a sieve three or four times then a tammy cloth so this water was like pure. And then he pureed the broccoli and added the water it was cooked in back to it. And then he made me close my eyes and taste it. And there was no cream, no butter, no shallots, no garlic, no chilli. Just this incredible water that the broccoli had been cooked in and added back... it's about the flavour profile...
Do you honestly think that restaurant Gordon Ramsey runs like Hell's Kitchen? I can't win either way. They invite me into the restaurant to turn their business around. I'm going to be ruthless. I'm going to tell them the truth. Now when they go off and become successful I don't get credit for that. When they close down I get blamed"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The Food Pilgrims - "Frequently the tourism industry, in order to attract food tourists, focuses on finding dishes or ingredients or ways of eating that are very different and considered very exotic. That frequently that exoticises the whole culture. It takes foods that are not necessarily the most representative foods of a culture but because it's different, for the tourist that's the food that's highlighted. A good example of that is you go to Peru and have llama meat. It is something that is eaten occasionally in Peru but the restaurants that are catering to tourists, it's featured on their menu. So now people are thinking the national food of Peru is llama...
The curry in France was always a little bit toned down and a little bit boring maybe for British tastes and then he kept on joking that one day he was going to deliver me a curry to France and I thought well if we're going to do it it might be quite fun to do it by air"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, The New Animals - "[On GMO salmon] Ronald says his fish need twenty five percent less feed to grow to the same size as traditional Atlantic salmon. And because it can be farmed in land based facilities built close to major cities, the carbon footprint of his products will be much lower"

Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image - "Sweden... is also increasingly associated with a rising number of Islamic State recruits, bombings and hand grenade attacks. In a period of two weeks earlier this year, five explosions took place in the country... In a country long renowned for its safety, voters cite “law and order” as the most important issue ahead of the general election in September. The topic of crime is sensitive, however, and debate about the issue in the consensus-oriented Scandinavian society is restricted by taboos. To understand crime in Sweden, it’s important to note that Sweden has benefited from the West’s broad decline in deadly violence, particularly when it comes to spontaneous violence and alcohol-related killings. The overall drop in homicides has been, however, far smaller in Sweden than in neighboring countries... Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average. Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon. Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities... The rising levels of violence have not gone unnoticed by Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbors. Norwegians commonly use the phrase “Swedish conditions” to describe crime and social unrest. The view from Denmark was made clear when former President of NATO and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview on Swedish TV: “I often use Sweden as a deterring example.”... During a visit to the White House in March, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven admitted that his country has problems with crime and specifically shootings, but denied the existence of no-go zones... The head of the paramedics’ union Ambulansförbundet, Gordon Grattidge, and his predecessor Henrik Johansson recently told me in an interview that some neighborhoods are definitely no-go for ambulance drivers — at least without police protection... When the Swedish government and opposition refer to the country as a “humanitarian superpower” because it opened its doors to more immigrants per capita during the migrant crisis than any other EU country, they mean it. This has resulted in some impressive contortions. In March, Labor Market Minister Ylva Johansson appeared on the BBC, where she claimed that the number of reported rapes and sexual harassment cases “is going down and going down and going down.” In fact, the opposite is true, which Johansson later admitted in an apology... After repeated attacks against Jewish institutions in December — including the firebombing of a synagogue in Gothenburg — Bildt took to the same paper to claim that anti-Semitism is not a major problem in Sweden... One “false claim” listed by the government is that “Not long ago, Sweden saw its first Islamic terrorist attack.” This is surprising, since the Uzbek jihadist Rakhmat Akilov has pleaded guilty to the truck ramming that killed five people in Stockholm last April and swore allegiance to the Islamic State prior to the attack. Akilov, who is currently standing trial, has proudly repeated his support for ISIS and stated that his motive was to kill Swedish citizens. He also had documented contacts with international jihadis... the British and Canadian foreign ministries issued travel advice about the country, citing gang crime and explosions"
Maybe Politico is now considered a far right rag

Bali plastic bags being used to show what type of shopper you are - "merchants were bagging shoppers' items with different coloured bags to alert other stores on how hard they haggle... shoppers who were considered easy targets had their items placed in red plastic bags, while more aggressive bargain hunters were handed black... 'Our driver told us about this system and warned us to dump any red bags.'"
Ahh... the Third World!

The Curse of Lee Kuan Yew - "since the early 2000s the cult of Lee Kuan Yew has been an unmitigated disaster in Eastern Europe, where the example set by Singapore’s unapologetic autocrat has helped to rehabilitate and legitimize authoritarianism... in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia, strongmen inspired by Lee Kuan Yew have only led their countries into war, chaos and economic dead ends, all the while professing to follow his example... Lee Kuan Yew was the inspiration of Russia’s deepening authoritarianism... the irony is that Lee himself had nothing but disdain for the Putin regime"

Battletech Devs Censor Forum Threads Criticizing Virtue Signaling, SJWism - "Harebrained Schemes decided to pull a BioWare. The Harebrained Schemes’ crowdfunded Battletech game is receiving some criticism for adding a gender neutral pronoun option in the character select screen, as well as some criticisms for purposefully not adding blonde hair to the character creation tool. The biggest complaint, however, is that the developers are censoring discussion around these topics... While some people would have been okay with the lack of blonde hair, they quickly noticed that there were options for blue hair, red hair, brown hair, and gray hair, but there are no options for blonde hair... Other gamers also pointed out that there’s a distinct lack of being able to customize the portraits and names of their company mercenaries. As shane757 pointed out, he didn’t want characters on his team with Middle-Eastern names, and that he preferred his German characters to have German names and portraits"

Monday, July 16, 2018

Links - 16th July 2018 (2)

Reservations soar at Toronto restaurant after vegan protest - "What started as a simple protest in downtown Toronto is becoming an international news story this week as more and more people learn of the chef who cut up a deer leg in front of some angry vegans... the vast majority of readers have been praising his peaceful, yet impactful method of fighting back against a group of animal rights activists who'd been haranguing Antler's customers for months."

Exit scammers run off with $660 million in ICO earnings - "Again we find that the current, unregulated, ICO market is the most interesting system for parting fools from their money in recent history."

Man accused of Da Vinci apartment arson was angry about police killings of African Americans, witnesses say - "The man charged with burning down the Da Vinci apartment complex and causing $100 million in damages, bragged about the fire at a hotel party a week later and was angry at high-profile police killings of African Americans... The testimony came during a preliminary hearing in the arson case against Dawud Abdulwali, who is accused of starting a fire on Dec. 7, 2014, that charred the unfinished, seven-story complex along the 110 Freeway in downtown L.A."
Black Li(v)es Matter

Other states are taking note of Utah's free-range parenting law - "Senate Bill 65, Child Neglect Amendments changes the definition of neglect, so a parent can't be arrested for letting a child do things like play at a park, or walk or ride a bike to school."

Free-range parenting laws could catch on around U.S. - "Parents have been investigated by child-welfare authorities in several high-profile cases, including a Maryland couple who allowed their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015... “When I was a child, you let your dogs and your children out after breakfast and … they had to be home for dinner,” he said. “I felt I gained a lot more from just playing on the street than my children did from being in organized sports activities.”"

Here’s what you should know about Inuka’s living conditions before being triggered - "Male polar bears live to 15 — 18 years in the wild, and around 25 years in captivity. At 27 years old, Inuka has exceeded his lifespan and would be in his 70s if he were human... He enjoys basking in the sun, despite having access to his air-conditioned ice cave."

Singapore to test facial recognition on lampposts, stoking privacy fears - "Wilson, the security lecturer at Murdoch University, said that unlike cities like London or New York, Singapore did not have a high crime or terror-threat level that justified such surveillance capabilities. In its 2018 risk map published this week, AON, a professional services company, ranked the terror threat in Singapore as "low". The government says, however, that the country faces threats from both home-grown militants and foreign terrorists"
We were told CCTVs in MRT stations were to prevent terrorism, but they seem used mainly to catch people eating or drinking

Linda Sarsour’s Awkward Defensiveness Over Saudi Oppression That The Left Seems To Ignore. - "She’s basically saying “women not having the right to drive in Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be a big deal because they get 10 weeks paid maternity leave.”... She is completely dishonest about the facts. She appeals to followers by showing women in high positions, and that somehow alleviates the problems of the average woman. It’s similar to saying “racism doesn’t exist in the United States because Barack Obama was president.” In some of these countries there is honor violence, and even sharia courts that punishes rape victims. But of course, they have women leaders, therefore “no sexism.”"

David Buckel, prominent New York LGBT lawyer, dies after setting himself on fire - "A prominent gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate has burned himself to death in New York on Saturday, reportedly using fossil fuel in a protest against ecological destruction."
This is a new height of commitment

Murat Morrison's answer to What is the most mean thing you've ever done? - Quora
Comment: "Something I have learned about beautiful women is that the self-destructive ones can make you think it's _your_ fault for not giving them enough attention, caring enough, or whatever else... when when you're giving 125% of what you have to give. I think it's because messed-up, attractive women (and possibly the same kind of men) exploit neoteny and thus hit parental circuitry."

The postwar world - History Extra - "[On World War II] All the archetypes that came out of the war are very black and white. You've got your hero, your victim, you've got the monsters who did all these terrible things and any nuance between them is very badly received by people. They don't want to think. I actually, some of these monsters might not have been complete monsters. They might've done some good things too. And some of these victims might not have been such innocent victims after all. We don't like those sort of nuances. We like to have things clear and black and white."

The history of today - History Extra - "We can only give you so much wisdom about the present, because the whole point about history is that it needs some distance from the moment in order to put it in context. And so what we're doing is suggesting, that with distance, you can perhaps have a clarity and you can perhaps ask different questions...
The temperance movements, particularly in America, where women went after men because of what too much drinking did to them. Now, essentially, they weren't saying, we want to be equal to you. Essentially they were saying, your behavior when you drink means that there's domestic violence. It means that you don't bring money into the home, we need you back being responsible men. And in order to get you back, we will launch, and it was a nationwide movement that caught the imagination of a new newspaper press, so that's a new technology at the moment. And when women went marching on the streets and did things like when up to saloon keepers and said, if you close this saloon, we promise you that all the women in this town will buy fish from you if you become a fish monger instead. So you were looking at this moment where women had fantastic power and yes, it wasn't power, which we would see today as making women equal. So it wasn't revolution, but their methods were quite revolutionary. And underneath you could see it was women starting to feel their power, and indeed, the temperance movement does develop into the early suffragette movement."
So much for history teaching us that Trump is Hitler

Opposing the Nazis - History Extra - "The German public's overwhelming approval of what the Nazis wanted and the Nazi 25 point program. And in one case he wrote that they are intoxicated by the successes in Poland. And what bothered him so much was that not only were they constantly rejoicing about things like that, but while they were rejoicing, they paid no heed at all to the tales of atrocities... the tales of atrocities of the worst kind that were buzzing in the air. In other words, just two weeks into the war, and when Hitler invaded Poland, two weeks into that war, the people were intoxicated and totally ignoring what was happening, what the German army was doing, what the SS... were doing, what was happening to the civilians, to the ordinary people in Poland"

A quick history of France - History Extra - "[Napoleon] crowned himself Emperor. Kings of course had a bad name by then. The last king. had been guillotined only 10 years before, and so Kings were unpopular, but Emperors were like Roman Emperors. They were different. They were good things, kings were bad things but emperors were god things"

Christoph on Twitter - "“How women use strategic tears to avoid accountability” - disgusting alt-right misogyny
“How WHITE women use strategic tears to avoid accountability” - woke left wing intersectionality, yass queen slay!!!"
Comments: " isn't an example of "white woman tears," it's someone asking a perfectly reasonable question."
"I love how the Left keeps alienating more groups with their selective racism and sexism, also known als 'intersectionality'. Join usssss, white womennn... they hatessss you! Take that red pill!"

How white women use strategic tears to avoid accountability | Ruby Hamad - "One of the panellists, Winnie Dunn, in answering a question about the harm caused by good intentions, had used the words “white people” and “shit” in the same sentence. This raised the ire of a self-identified white woman in the audience who interrogated the panellists as to “what they think they have to gain” by insulting people who “want to read their stories.” In other words, the woman saw a personal attack where there wasn’t one... “We talk about toxic masculinity,” Ajayi warns, “but there is (also) toxicity in wielding femininity in this way.”... their tearful displays are a form of emotional and psychological violence that reinforce the very system of white dominance that many white women claim to oppose."
"saw a personal attack where there wasn’t one" is a great indictment of grievance politics
The definition of violence keeps expanding
The Guardian probably turned off comments on its articles because they were tired of people trying to keep them honest. Pity - the comments were usually the best bit

BBC World Service - The World This Week, China's new emperor? - "One of the main reasons is that he's made so many enemies within the Communist Party that for him to ever give up power would be potentially dangerous for him. The anti-corruption drive here, according to the Communist Party's own figures 1.5 million people have been punished in this. Now imagine they've all got relatives. They might not all be in jail but they might all be potentially angry at Xi Jinping"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, China to 'Fight Back' against US Trade Tariffs - "She was not perfect. She had her flaws. She was convicted of fraud and being an accessory to kidnapping. Any fair-minded person cannot reflect on Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's life without mentioning 14 year old Stompie Seipei. Even though she never ordered his killing, he died at the hands of a scandal-prone Mandela United Football Club bodyguard and driver after being falsely accused of being an apartheid spy. Her support for "necklacing"
putting a tyre around suspected traitors' necks, dousing them with petrol and setting them alight also put her in direct conflict with her comrades"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Trump and Kim eye early nuclear talks - "So many North Koreans over the years from that class have seen the outside world, have travelled outside North Korea and have developed a taste for some of those creature comforts that we are accustomed to. When I was the bureau chief of a news operation in Pyongyang, I flew twice a month in and out of Pyongyang and my flights were packed with North Koreans. So that meant that there was a pointevil [sp?] of North Koreans every day going to Beijing and seeing what life was like outside their country. If the leader of North Korea wants to keep that class happy he also has to find a way to give them the life that they are accustomed to outside the country"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Russia cuts military spending - "This is a military force that people used to run away from. There is conscription in Russia and I remember in the old days of the Chechen War it was the last thing in the world that a young Russian man or his mother wanted was to end up conscripted into the Russian army. The pay was terrible, the conditions were disastrous and there were very dangerous wars that Russia was involved in. These days it's a matter of national pride. Young boys, generally speaking, and broadly speaking want to join the Russian army. They get paid much better, the conditions are much better and there's far less brutality within the Russian military itself and I think that is in a way symbolic of a kind of change in the psyche here in Russia over the years that Vladimir Putin has been in power"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Facebook data breach scientist says he is being 'scapegoated' - "Honestly we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal and we were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the limits of the terms of service"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, London knife attacks - "When we looked at our first paper back in the 80s we looked at interpersonal injury - knives and gun injuries as being relatively uncommon, sort of niche injury, and now it's our core work. About a quarter of what we see in our practice is knife and gun injury and it’s now we’re doing major life saving cases on a daily basis...
Your practice has gone from relaxed to a war zone in recent years...
We're now doing major interventions on younger and younger people who require operations which we only used to describe in years gone by… we routinely have children under our care. 13, 14, 15 year olds… knife and gun wounds... children in school uniforms...
I think we've seen a normalization in attitudes towards violence globally and also a willingness for people in general to take offence about pretty much everything... things escalate on social media over literally nothing, which used to be previously ignored. People now, when pressed with conflict, react in a much more explosive manner... you get the society you deserve if you ignore violence... so we're all responsible"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Syria 'chemical attack' - "Independent sources were just saying in the case of the Douma attack two MIL MI-8 helicopters was seen taking off from Tamara airbase and that's one of the possible places that's going to come in for a missile strike. They were then seen over Douma dropping canisters and there is form here... Khan Shaykhun. No one apart from Russia and Syria disputes that that was the Syrian government that did that...
President Putin has a world view where he feels that the world is trying to bring him down, trying to get at him. Of course many of this is prompted by his own actions and Salisbury is an example"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Labour warns against Syria strikes - "'You would be sitting around a war cabinet table. You recommend that the UN should investigate and officials say to you: that's a very interesting idea, Minister, but Russia has vetoed the investigation 6 times and they will do it again. So what now?'...
'We would press on trying to bring people to the table. We believe that more bombing is not the answer to the crisis in Syria'
'But at the beginning you see you answered the question: should dictators pay a price for dropping chemical gas on children. Yes you said. But you would call for something that's never happened and you just admitted probably wouldn't happen now... what price would Assad pay for dropping gas on children?'
'There is a response which falls short of more bombing. We believe there needs to be coordinated international drive to achieve a ceasefire. And a negotiated political settlement. That's what has to happen'
'The leaders recognized by the United Nations... in all Western capitals. He said those doesn't work. Assad has ignored calls, the Russians have ignored calls for formal talks'...
'That is to give up all hope. We can't afford to give up on the people in Syria'"
Labour's fantasy foreign policy

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Syria: 'There's terror on both sides' - "'When you met the Grand Mufti, did you bring up with him Amnesty International's accusation - very firmly sourced accusation - that he signs the death warrants for people who are hanged in large numbers in prison in Damascus?'
'No we didn't... we had other things to discuss... the missile attack. That was in our view and particularly reinforced by being there. It was illegal, it was unethical and it was dangerous... there was no mandate'
'So for you the missile attack was more important than the mass murder of people in prisons, signed off by the Grand Mufti in Damascus'...
'We're there to listen to the people and the people's concerned at that time was the missile attack by US, UK and France'...
'What you have done by giving this propaganda coup to Assad and his people is ignore the terror on one side'"
Brown lives only matter when white people are killing them
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