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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Links - 23rd June 2015

As Mary Portas reveals her brother's the biological father of her son - "the fashion guru, who is proud to be part of one of Britain’s most high-profile lesbian marriages, changed her name to Portas following her marriage to a man in 1990. That marriage — which she has previously described as a happy one — produced two children who are now grown-up. She became a lesbian only in her 40s, when she met Melanie and fell for her... Until that point, Portas had never considered a relationship with a woman — ‘I certainly wasn’t a suppressed lesbian,’ she later reflected"
Is it wrong for a woman to have a son whose father is her brother?
Also, yet another woman whose sexual orientation changes (and becomes lesbian)

In China: Honesty is not the best policy - China - "After nearly a year of living and reporting here, I’ve come to realise that honesty doesn’t rank high on the list of virtues in China... Dishonesty starts young too. According to a poll of 250 students, parents and agents conducted in 2011 by Zinch China – a consultancy that advises United States colleges and universities about China – about 90 per cent of them submitted false recommendations... Chinese scholars and friends tell me that deceit is not widely frowned upon in China as it is sometimes seen as a means to survival in a society without clear rules – or at least without a culture of abiding by them. Said sociologist Hu Xingdou: “People realise that it doesn’t pay to be honest as not telling the truth may even yield benefits while being honest could even reap repercussions”... Another reason, said Mr Hu, is the society’s view that being kind (shan in Mandarin) is more important than being real (zhen). One factor could be the Confucian teachings that virtues like honesty can be subjugated for greater good like family peace and community unity, he added... I have to confess that I have become more wary here than in Singapore of strangers, including even acquaintances and shops that I frequent regularly."

White Hot Harlots: Manspreading: the rise of broken windows liberalism - "Of all the conflagrations of online outrage that have burst forward these past couple years, few have elicited as much long-lasting passion as the concerns over “manspreading"... What engendered this anger, this meanness? In order to understand where the ire comes from, we have to look at a means of analysis that’s common throughout lazy writing and has recently, sadly entered into a lot of social justice commentary. It’s based around taking erstwhile inoffensive or mildly offensive actions, embusing them with a pervasive secret meaning indicative of some kind of hatred, and then getting mad not at the action itself, but the evil subconscious mindsets that underlie it. Hence, manspreaders aren’t spreading for any material reasons—not because they’re tired or there’s plenty of space or even because they are fat and physically have to take up more room. They spread only because of their hidden ideology. They secretly believe themselves superior to women, which is why they want to take up space. Basically, your posture says more about your ideology than your actual ideology does. That’s the sort of logic that’s so stupid it has an air of infallibility to it"

The Ideological-Conflict Hypothesis - "Decades of research in social and political psychology have demonstrated that political conservatives appear more intolerant toward a variety of groups than do political liberals. Recent work from our three independent labs has challenged this conventional wisdom by suggesting that some of the psychological underpinnings of intolerance are not exclusive to people on either end of the political spectrum. These studies have demonstrated that liberals and conservatives express similar levels of intolerance toward ideologically dissimilar and threatening groups... one open question is whether an ideological commitment to tolerance in the abstract translates into actual expressions of tolerance toward ideological out-groups."

List of Campus Disinvitation Attempts, 2000–2014 - FIRE
2000: 6 disinvitations attempts
2001: 4
2002: 10
2003: 10
2004: 7
2005: 13
2006: 10
2007: 9
2008: 13
2009: 23
2010: 16
2011: 19
2012: 17
2013: 29
2014: 16
2014 only has 5 months of data so do note that corrected for the full year figures one would assume there were 38 disinvitations in 2014 - truly a record

Disinvitation Report 2014: A Disturbing 15-Year Trend - FIRE - "Our research on disinvitations over the past 15 years identifies five trends:
1. The number of “disinvitation incidents”—i.e., efforts to prevent invited speakers from conveying their message on campus—has risen dramatically.
2. The number of “successful” disinvitations where a speaker ultimately does not speak as a result of a concerted effort to prevent them from doing so has increased as well.
3. Speakers are much more likely to be targeted for disinvitation for holding or expressing viewpoints perceived as conservative by faculty or students.
4. Disinvitation incidents occur with nearly equal frequency among public, private, and sectarian schools, demonstrating that disinvitations are not isolated to any particular type of university.
5. Institutions that have seen the highest number of disinvitation incidents also maintain severely speech-restrictive policies."

New FIRE Report: ‘Disinvitations’ Skyrocketing - FIRE - "The top three reasons behind disinvitation incidents were disagreements with a speaker’s perceived views on gay rights (21), followed by abortion (18) and the “War on Terror” (18)."

Freakonomics » The Maddest Men of All Full Transcript - "the honest employees tested better on just about every performance metric, which you mind find heartening, the idea that honesty really is a valuable trait. But there was one metric for which honesty was not correlated with better performance: sales."

Transgender Man and Woman Both Identify as Opposite Sex, Conceive Two Kids Together - "The "mom", Bianca, is a man who identifies as a woman.
The "dad", Nick, is a woman who identifies as a man.
The thing that I don't understand is the fact that instead of adopting, they had kids naturally which requires the "woman" of the relationship to stick her penis in the "man" of the relationship.
The "dad" said that her pregnancy and the process of getting pregnant was a horrible experience (5:00), yet they also apparently have sex "the same way everyone does" (4:10). And oh yeah, the "husband" basically said at 4:25 that she doesn't view her "wife" as a man even when her "wife" is fucking her in the vagina with his dick."

Eurisko, The Computer With A Mind Of Its Own - "In 1981, Eurisko, a computer program that arguably displays the rudiments of such skills, easily won the Traveller tournament, becoming the top-ranked player in the United States and an honorary Admiral in the Traveller navy. Eurisko had designed its fleet according to principles it discovered itself -with some help from its inventor, Douglas B. Lenat, an assistant professor in Stanford University's artificial-intelligence program... After weeks of experimentation, and some 10,000 two-to-thirty-minute battles, Eurisko came up with what would be the winning fleet. To the humans in the tournament, the program's solution to Traveller must have seemed bizarre. Most of the contestants squandered their trillion-credit budgets on fancy weaponry, designing agile fleets of about twenty lightly armored ships, each armed with one enormous gun and numerous beam weapons. Eurisko, however, had judged that defense was more important than offense, that many cheap, invulnerable ships would outlast fleets consisting of a few high-priced, sophisticated vessels. There were ninety-six ships in Eurisko's fleet, most of which were slow and clumsy because of their heavy armor. Rather than arming them with a few big, expensive guns, Eurisko chose to use many small weapons."

Now Russia makes transgender driving a criminal offence
Comment: "1. This is a resolution by the government, not a law. It's their opinion, nothing more.
2. The resolution refers to people with mental illnesses, not specifically transgendered people. For example, it also applies to people with OCD.
3. The implication for transgendered people comes from the resolution using a list of mental issues being taken from the ICD-10, a list of mental illnesses recognised by the World Health Organisation.
4. The resolution refers to cases where the mental illness is 'harmful'.
5. The resolution doesn't apply to people who already have driving licenses.
6. The resolution means that when you are applying for a driving license, if you are exhibiting behaviour that suggests you might be dangerous on the road, you can be denied your license."

5 Reasons For Why Animal Rights Are A Feminist Issue — Everyday Feminism - "1. Animal Bodies Are Objectified, Too
2. Animal Bodies Are Used to Normalize Rape Culture
3. Domestic Violence Harms Animals
4. Intersectionality Must Include All Oppressed Groups
5. Our Society Spreads Lies About Animals, Too"

23 Words Mispronounced By Singaporeans Their Whole Lives

Chris Rock Stopped Playing Colleges Because They're 'Too Conservative' - "Not in their political views -- not like they’re voting Republican -- but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive."

The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States - "We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually. Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality. Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for US birds and mammals"

Iran bans ‘devil-worshipping’ spiky haircuts and male eyebrow plucking - "Excessive hair gel and male eyebrow plucking also were on the 2010 list of no-no's, as they have been in the past. Authorities apparently had some outdated ideas of current Western styles: They also banned mullets."

Half a million refugees gather in Libya to attempt perilous crossing to Europe - "The passengers on some of the overcrowded boats are thought to have been told to scupper them as soon as they see a rescue ship, to ensure they will be saved, even though many of them cannot swim... One government official said: “The more the traffickers see that people are being resettled, the greater the incentive there is for them.”"
People respond to incentives

Sinclair C5 voted biggest innovation disaster - Telegraph

Rethinking the Plight of Conservatives in Higher Education - "right-leaning students are far more likely to select “practical” majors that are less likely to lead to advanced degrees. Their emphasis on vocational fields such as business and criminal justice permits them to move directly into the workforce. In contrast, left-leaning students are more apt to pursue majors in the liberal arts, such as sociology and philosophy, which, absent additional graduate training, provide fewer career opportunities immediately on graduation. Even within a major like political science, college seniors of different political leanings have different expectations with regard to their forthcoming careers. Whereas students on both the left and the right place a premium on securing a comfortable salary and having the time to raise a family, conservative students consistently rate these priorities as more important than do liberal students... April was fond of reminding me that “students aren’t sponges.” By the age of eighteen, she argued, most people are already set in their ways. Sure enough, our research indicated she was right... A journal referee’s propensity to fixate on seemingly trivial methodological flaws seems to increase dramatically if my conclusions undermine a leftist policy position... Focusing on the 494 books with an ideological thesis, the researchers found that only 2 percent of Harvard University Press publications had conservative or classically liberal perspectives"

The call of monkhood: Princeton degree, dating brought no joy - "Growing up, Ms Ruby Pan wanted to be a writer. In her teens, she fell in love with the theatre and dreamt of being a playwright. She won a Public Service Commission teaching scholarship to study English literature at Princeton University in the United States, where she bagged prizes for a play and a collection of short stories she wrote. She even got to perform a monologue she wrote at a show produced by the famous Royal Shakespeare Company in England. She thought she had done everything that was artistically fulfilling, but when she graduated in 2006, she felt no joy. She says: "Instead, I felt burnt out, like I had run a very long race for no reason." Ms Pan, 31, who now goes by her ordained name, Thubten Damcho, was speaking over the telephone from Sravasti Abbey, a Tibetan Buddhist monastry in a forested area in Washington in the United States, where she now lives... she was jealous of her then boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, whom she did not even know. Conversely, she saw how the abbess was always joyous and equanimous regardless of the situation, the "fruit of decades of spiritual practice as a monastic"."
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