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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Links - 29th November 2014

Why Germans are afraid of Google (and Amazon, Uber, YouTube...) - "The German voter-consumer will always trust the state more than he will any private company, no matter how ardently it insists on being a good guy. Trust in “the state” is hard to measure; polls vary greatly depending on the current government’s performance and personnel, among other factors. However, Germans regularly report much higher levels of trust in the leading state institutions - the federal legislature, the courts and the police - than Americans do. No major party, right or left, calls for shrinking the size of the state; the only party to do so, the Liberal Democrats, is too small to have a seat in the Bundestag, and is fighting for its life in state-level elections. Unlike in America, where trust in the state tends to dip during hard times, in Germany it rises. When problems appear, we look to “Vater Staat” - the Father State - to protect us."

The mystery of the vanishing iPod Classic, solved! - "“We couldn’t get the parts anymore, not anywhere on Earth,” Cook said. “It wasn’t a matter of me swinging the ax, saying ‘what can I kill today?’”"

Why Boosting Your Self-Esteem Will Improve Your Relationship - "The researchers reported that the higher a couple’s initial self-esteem was, the happier they tended to be in their relationship. They also found that changes in self-esteem over time were strongly related to changes in relationship satisfaction. Specifically, increases in individual self-esteem heralded improvements in relationship satisfaction while drops in individual self-esteem predicted drops in the couple’s relationship satisfaction."

Answer Comments - Quora - "Whacko feminism is like a feminist march I saw in the early '90s in Zurich where women paraded with giant scissors with "cut 'em off!" painted on them. Or the professor of gender studies who kicked me out of a seminar at Zurich university simply because I was male. And I was booed out of the room. I had done or said nothing offensive - it was simply because I was male. That's seriously whacko."

Why Is There a USB Drive Sticking Out of This Wall? - "Across New York, there are USB drives embedded in walls, buildings and curbs. The idea is to create an anonymous, offline file-sharing network in public space. The drives are completely public and anyone can plug in to drop and download files."

Mood swings? It might be more than PMS… - "The thing is, I thought that I was a bit of an oddity, responding to a combined pill in this way. But talking to Peter Greenhouse, and other GPs that evening, I realised that this is actually a common experience. Some GPs I spoke to wouldn't even prescribe the particular brand of the combined pill that I took – for this very reason. But, weirdly, it seems that this potential side-effect of the most commonly prescribed combined pill (Microgynon, Ovranette or Levest) is far from being common knowledge among GPs – or indeed among women. It's also distinctly lacking in the warning notes that come with the pills. And this all seems even more odd when it's well known that mood changes are the main reason for women stopping taking the pill. Perhaps physical side-effects are considered to be more important, somehow more tangible – but surely a side-effect that could derail and even wreck relationships is one that needs to be taken seriously. At the very least, women need to be warned about the possibility."

Kellogg's Study: The Ape and the Child - "Winthrop Niles Kellogg (1898 - 1972) was a psychologist best known for his study The Ape and the Child, which involved his observations of raising a chimpanzee infant along with his own son... Although the chimp progressed faster than the boy in the earliest stages, it became evident towards the end of the experiment that she was falling behind, especially ‘in the matter of intellectual adaptation to human demands’. The early superiority is attributed to the fact that anthropoids in general mature earlier than humans. A monkey reaches puberty at about four years, whereas humans reach puberty between twelve and fourteen on average, with girls generally reaching puberty before boys. In the report of this experiment by Dr. Kellogg and his wife it was indicated that a good deal of human socializing can be achieved by an animal through training and human association. But it also was noted that ‘there are definite limits to the degree of humanization that can be achieved by non-human species regardless of the amount of socializing and humanizing effects’."

National Trust and English Heritage lifetime membership: Why it still pays to buy at 60 - "Only an actuary could work out the ages at which it's worth paying £1,430 for life membership of National Trust - so we asked one "

The Father of Modern Terrorism - "in 1996, Arafat brayed to an Arab audience in Stockholm, "We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion... We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem." Asked about his plans on Egyptian television in 1998, Arafat explained that strategic pause was a venerable Islamic strategy, referring specifically to the "Khudaibiya agreement" in which the Prophet Mohammed made a ten-year treaty with the Arabian tribe of Koreish, but broke it after two years -- during which his forces used the security of the pact to marshal their strength -- and then conquered the Koreish tribe... on December 16, 2001, with American forces suppressing terrorists in Afghanistan, an ostensibly chastened Arafat appeared on PA-controlled Palestinian television to warn Hamas and Islamic Jihad against "all military activities" against Israel, and to purportedly "renew" his "call to completely halt any activities, especially suicide attacks, which we have condemned and always condemned." This time, the ploy fell flat -- undercut, no doubt, after the Nobel laureate characteristically followed it up only two days later with a speech at a Ramallah rally -- the kind of red meat always conveniently ignored in the halcyon pre-9/11 days. "With God's help," he boasted:
"Next time we will meet in Jerusalem, because we are fighting to bring victory to our prophets, every baby, every kid, every man, every woman and every old person and all the young people, we will all sacrifice ourselves for our holy places and we will strengthen our hold of them and we are willing to give 70 of our martyrs for every one of theirs in this campaign, because this is our holy land. We will continue to fight for this blessed land and I call on you to stand strong.""

From Otherkin to Transethnicity: Your Field Guide to the Weird World of Tumblr Identity Politics - "Tumblr, which has a huge, passionate social justice community — thousands of people interested in feminism, gay rights, trans rights and other interrelated issues — is a natural fit for this group of otherkin. (Other, similar communities exist on LiveJournal and the TV Tropes message boards.) Like other Tumblr users who are members of marginalized groups, otherkin start their own blogs and write about their identities and the axieties and injustices of daily life (one says she was fired for being otherkin, others talk about coming out to their friends and family). They trade support and sympathy. And they fight with people who don't buy it — more often than not, people who they think should be broadly sympathetic to their goals." "If you follow any blogs that have anything to do with leftism, feminism, etc., there's probably someone that's going to reblog someone else that feels the need to pay lip service to people who identify as inanimate objects," the guy behind Tumblr.TXT, a Twitter account dedicated to reproducing some of the site's most outlandish claims, told me over email. (He asked not to be identified by name: "I'm mocking people who belong in insane asylums and don't want to end up being tortured in a basement by people in fox costumes")... There's a sharp division between the activists who believe their ethical and ideological commitments require them to accept to be open to any professed identity — and those who think that in the absence of structural oppression, cisgendered white people claiming to be gay Korean cats aren't just playing fantasy games but also undermining the strength of the movement by taking it to a bizarre conclusion."
If it's okay to think you were born the wrong sex, why not the wrong species?

Is Trans Ethnic Really A Thing* - "So, trans ethnic is showing up as the belief that you were born in the wrong race/culture. Unsurprisingly, it's a bunch of white people claiming to be non-whites. It was yesterday that I discovered trans ethnicity as a described concept as part of a conversation between two Hourou Musuko fans, and how being trans ethnic (in this case being a white American but thinking the person should have been Asian Japanese) was exactly the same as being transgender... queer and trans struggles have led not to an acceptance of our identities, but rather the appropriation of our language and discourse to create more boxes in which individuals, usually teens or early twenty-somethings, place themselves in while searching for that elusive concept known as "identity.""
If it's okay to think you were born the wrong sex, why not the wrong race?
Why don't these criticisms apply to 'normal' identity politics?

Jim Durbin's answer to Why does it seem like the right has a lot more hateful elements than the left? - Quora - "Media bias and Democratic messaging... Take a look at the recent government shutdown. Republicans had measured tones, asking for compromise. Democrats used words like "bomb-throwers, gun to the head, terrorists... It might be that there is a Democrat in office, but if you look at the Bush years, the idea that the right was nastier than the left didn't really make sense. An out of power party is going to be accused of being nastier, but this goes far deeper. After the election in 2008, Democrats got nastier, despite having more power in Washington than any Republican Administration since Reconstruction... The Left functions on an emotional level. If you disagree with an issue, you're not just an opponent, you're a hater. If you want to cut the growth in the rate of spending, you're trying to kill the elderly. If you believe in originalist views of the Constitution, you want to take America back to the days of segregated lunch counters and backalley abortions. That's not arguing - it's abuse. If you can't win the argument, you try to drive your opponent from the public arena."

Fit Pride Isn’t ‘Hate Speech’ - "Facebook recently banned me temporarily from the site — shutting down my account for almost three days for supposedly violating the site’s terms of service — after a number of users flagged a post of mine venting about the damaging culture of fat acceptance. After my post had garnered thousands of likes, comments and shares, these users apparently reported what I wrote as “hate speech”... Most disturbing, however, is that we now apparently live in a culture where other people deliberately try to — and feel entitled to — censor speech they dislike by labeling it hateful. Have we really created a society so sensitive and weak that we cry “hate speech” whenever someone points out the fine line we’re walking as a nation by promoting a healthy body image above actual health? Has the growing movement promoting “fat acceptance” and even “fat pride” gone so far that now we need a countervailing movement promoting “fit pride”? We may just. Apparently, in America today, the only “real” women are the overweight... A study published recently in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 1 in 4 overweight women thinks she’s thin, an understandable misperception given that being overweight has become so common. We’ve encouraged acceptance of this new normal by literally making room for our heavier culture. Often termed “vanity sizing”... Constant campaigns promoting self-acceptance and embracing one’s curves are placing the psychological need for a positive body image ahead of health. When you normalize a problem you create complacency. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t see a problem... Have we accepted this new normal to the point that being a healthy everyday individual shatters the self-images of overweight people who think it’s impossible to become fit without Photoshop, plastic surgery or a personal trainer?"
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