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Monday, November 23, 2015

Links - 23rd November 2015

Secret Sister Gift Exchange: The festive pyramid scam that's taking Facebook by storm - "the idea is that each participant gets up to 36 gifts as more join the exchange. However, like most other novel ideas that promise huge returns on a small initial investment, it's a total fantasy - in fact, it fits the definition of a traditional pyramid scheme exactly. Not only are pyramid schemes like this one mathematically impossible (the list of theoretical participants multiplies into billions of people a few steps into the scheme), they're also against Facebook's terms of use, and are illegal in some countries, including the US."
I see a lot of women sharing this. Maybe they don't grasp the idea of compounding

The Line between Victims and Abusers - "Victim identity is focus on damages suffered at the hands of other people. The desire to be identified as a victim creates a sense of entitlement and a motive to devalue anyone who does not offer special recognition and validation of victim status or compensation for it... The victim protection movement began as a noble attempt to counteract the most insidious aspect of the abusive dynamic - blaming the victim, which has the effect of making the victim feel ashamed of being abused. But as is the case with all effective social movements, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. We now have a victim identity movement, fueled by an industry of self-help authors and advocates, that has conferred a certain status to being a victim and thereby blurred the line between victims and abusers. For example, in the beginning of my career, I saw many male abuse victims who would become angry and verbally aggressive at the suggestion that their partners abused them. Now obvious victims, along with those who are not victims but who have identified with descriptions in self-help books, become angry and aggressive if they are not recognized as victims. The primary mistake with victims is urging them to think and sound like abusers... The primary mistake with abusers is to reinforce their victim-identity"

Is the Menstrual Cycle Linked to the Timing of Sexual Assaults - "Apparently, this woman did not find it necessary to verify the references in my book to determine whether I had provided relevant citations in support of the "provocative" claim. Also, note the number of times that she used the word "provocative" in her emails. Hence, at first she proclaims that this research is apparently dangerous, as accused rapists might use it as a defense strategy. Subsequent to my rebuttal, she still maintains that this is a very provocative contention. It is worth noting that all four authors on the Beirne et al. paper discussed in this post are women, as are many of the menstrual cycle researchers listed in the references below (Martie Haselton, Kristina Durante, Tara J. Chavanne, Natalia Hohmann, LeeAnn Renninger, Bettina Fischer, Mina Mortezaie, Eizabeth G. Pillsworth, and April Bleske-Rechek). I wonder if the woman in question thinks that these female scientists are all colluding in their quest to "promote a defense strategy for rapists." Nice."

Female hormone influences on sexual assaults in Northern Ireland from 2002 to 2009. - "Evolutionary psychology suggests that women would have suffered more negative consequences if sexually assaulted when fertile and that specific psychological mechanisms may have evolved in women to combat male coercion. Female behaviours towards men vary across the reproductive cycle and men's behaviour towards women may vary also as a result of changes in female hormones. Hormones play a major role in producing the characteristic cyclical changes throughout a woman's reproductive life. This study is the first study of female hormone influences on sexual assaults. The data for the study was collated retrospectively from the records of 105 females with regular, spontaneous menstrual cycles. These females alleged recent sexual assault and were examined in Belfast during the period 2002-2009. The study concluded that young girls in the middle of their cycle, i.e. the fertile phase, were most at risk of sexual assault. It is possible that both sexes are sensitive to signs, albeit subtle behavioural signs, indicating high risk of conception."

College Dean Accuses Texas Officers of Stopping Her for ‘Walking While Black’ — Police Claim Dashcam Video Tells a Different Story - "Bland figured she “was simply a brown face in an affluent neighborhood. I told the police I didn’t like to walk in the rain, and one of them told me, ‘My dog doesn’t like to walk in the rain.’ Ouch!” She added that “for safety’s sake” she used her iPhone to take a photo of the officers and their patrol car’s license plate, as Bland didn’t want to end up like “the dozens of others who have died while in police custody.” Within hours after posting about the incident on Facebook, Bland said more than 100 friends spread the news across the country. “You are now in the company of Henry Louis Gates and others with the same experience,” she said one of her former students wrote her. “We must stop racial profiling”... after Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall caught wind of the incident, she wrote a response, which was in the second part of the Dallas Morning News piece, and said that the encounter was about Bland’s safety, not race — and that dashcam video from the officer’s patrol car proves it... Walthall noted that while the patrol car’s emergency lights were activated, no sirens were used, contrary to Bland’s claim — and the officers “immediately” told Bland about their concern for her safety and the pickup truck and that she should walk against traffic instead... Walthall noted that Bland never contacted police or returned the chief’s phone message about the incident. “The citizens of Corinth as a whole are a highly educated population,” Walthall concluded, “and it is disappointing that one of our residents would attempt to make this a racial issue when clearly it is not.”"
For all we know, a lot of the anecdotes about 'privilege' etc are also made up and/or imagined
Comment: "It all makes sense… She’s a Dean of Journalism. Of course she’s going to lie."

‘At a loss for words’: Man’s traffic stop post continues to go viral, police thank him for message - "Steven Hildreth, Jr., said he was pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a burned out headlight. The 27-year-old author and National Guard veteran told officers he had a concealed-carry permit and had a gun holstered at his hip.
Hildreth said he followed the officers’ instructions and got out of the car so they could disarm him... “I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities,” Hildreth wrote. “Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.”"
Addendum: Also published as: "Man’s Facebook post about traffic stop goes viral"

IPS Study on Perceptions of Singapore’s History - "events which did not feature highly in the individual consciousness of Singaporeans included Operation Cold Store, the “Marxist conspiracy plot”, the Laju hostage incident and the Graduate Mother Scheme. Less than a quarter of the Singaporeans polled were aware of these historical events. Events with a racial undertone were more likely to be recalled by the affected ethnic community. The Maria Hertogh riots in the 1950s and Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist plot, for example, figured more strongly in the consciousness of Malays than other racial groups. Conversely, the Chinese reported a higher degree of awareness of the merger of Nanyang University (Nantah) with the University of Singapore, which happened in 1980. Individual consciousness of events did not necessarily translate into empathy or emotional awareness. For example, while an overwhelming majority of Singaporeans (98.8%) were aware of the controversial introduction of the casinos in 2010, they did not feel that it was an important historical event to themselves or to future generations. The casino openings ranked at the bottom of the scale of importance to Singaporeans"

How much do you pay for your "take-away''? - "MOST of us would be familiar with paying 10 to 20 cents for a take-away container when buying food from hawker centres. But did you know that some hawkers actually charge up to 50 cents for the container, depending on what kind of container is being used?"

Thatcher: Respect for the dead is an outdated and foolish principle - "Do we owe the dead respect, even if we disagreed with them profoundly, even if we were harmed by them in some way, even if we think that their influence on their times was largely negative, and their legacy damaging?... The standard trope is: de mortuis nil nisi bonum – “Of the dead say nothing but good”. Why? Why should one not speak as one did when the person was alive? The story of a prominent individual’s life cannot be complete without the truth about what people felt at the moment of summing up, whether it is in mourning or rejoicing. Let us say what we think, and be frank about it: death does not confer privileges... Respect for the dead is a hangover from a past in which it was believed that the dead might retain some active influence on the living, and that one might re-encounter them either in this life or a putative next life... Frank opinions explain far more than the massaged and not infrequently hypocritical views expressed in obsequies."

They Might Sound Gross, But Intestinal Worms Can Actually Be Good For You - "Having worms isn’t necessarily bad for you. The largest randomized trial ever performed in human history – involving two million children in India – looked at how helminths affect health in places where humans naturally have them. The study showed that mass treatment with an effective deworming drug did not increase body weight or survival. Shockingly, the helminths didn’t seem to be doing any harm, since getting rid of them didn’t improve health... helminths have been found to protect laboratory animals from a wide range of allergies and autoimmune conditions. And recent findings suggest that many types of cancer can be reduced by helminths"

Please stop this SMRT seat shaming nonsense - "Note my use of italicized “alleged” and “claimed“. These are two words journalists, lawyers or experienced writers often use as disclaimers when describing an incident or details of a court case – because it’s one person’s word against another. And that’s precisely the problem with the “cyber-shaming” that has become the norm inside of trains and other public places – when you post these shaming photos online, you think you’re in the right and it’s your right to take this person down in the online space. But that’s only your side of the story... You prefer to let the howling crowds serve instant and brutal justice on your behalf, because you couldn’t solve it right there and then to your satisfaction (for whatever reasons)... You don’t care if they lose their jobs, get ostracised by colleagues or acquaintances, or go into depression for being publicly humiliated for just taking a seat. And of course, you don’t realize the very same things could happen to you too, the cyber-shaming photo uploader... Every seat is up for grabs by anyone, and every seat should be offered to someone more in need. Just because some SMRT staff stuck a sticker above one seat, doesn’t mean you have to get all huffy-puffy about that particular seat... You folks who believe in cyber-shaming over train seats, you say you do this to help someone in need. The minute you post that photo online of the stranger you hardly know, do you realize you’re actually missing the real point of being gracious?"

Cold-pressed juices are a waste of money. The (lack of) science behind them says so. - "Bazzano noted that the temperatures in regular juice blenders don't get high enough to significantly alter the plants' chemicals and vitamins. And even if temperature differences did change the nutritional value of the juice, they wouldn't be dramatic enough to then affect a person's health. So what about drinking fresh juices in general versus eating fruits and vegetables? Juicing advocates claim that the juice hits your system in a more beneficial way because you don't need to digest all that pesky fiber found in whole produce.
Bazzano explained that the only way juices hit your system faster is in a rapid sugar load akin to drinking a soft drink"

Tomb Tells Tale of Family Executed by China's 1st Female Emperor

The truth about Sweden's short working hours - "fewer hours do not necessarily lead to less stress, according to Mrs Webb. "The first thing I thought when I heard about six-hour days was 'what are they going to do with their time?'," she says. "I already see a lot of clients who finish work at 4pm to 5pm but they end up trying to take their kids to all these activities, to exercise, to make homemade food… "They have the summer house, they have the boat, so in theory they've got all this stuff to help them relax but it just makes more work for them. It's a very Swedish problem… In theory we have this work-life balance but, actually, we're not very good at sitting around and doing nothing.""
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