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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fight To The Death Power Rangers Vs Cookie Monster!

Windows Update from the Command Line

For reference:

run window update from command line? - Windows 7 Help Forums

"yes, you can run it from the command line

%windir%\system32\wuapp.exe startmenu

works but it brings up the gui"

(I find it only works when I remove "startmenu")

This works when adding Windows Update as a Custom item/custom link in Classic Start Menu (Classic Shell) to check for updates, and presumably also in Run.

Links - 14th March 2015

Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project - "Overall, across the six years of this study, religious groups were harassed in a total of 185 countries at one time or another. Members of the world’s two largest religious groups – Christians and Muslims, who together comprise more than half of the global population – were harassed in the largest number of countries, 151 and 135, respectively. Jews, who comprise less than 1% of the world’s population, experienced harassment in a total of 95 countries"
If Christians are harassed in more countries than Muslims, isn't Christianophobia a bigger problem than "Islamophobia"?

Brown Pundits: Unreal Islam - "As with most organized religions, the foundational texts and beliefs of Islam can support both peaceful versions and violent ones. Until people recognize and admit that all of these are, in fact, “real Islam”, the issues underlying the problem of jihadi militancy cannot be addressed. If the violence is “not real Islam”, the implication is that Islam – as practiced by most Muslims – needs no reform. But that is manifestly not the case. The scourge of violence in the name of Islam will be removed only when Muslims in general come to reject all instances of violence in the name of Islam, including those that are celebrated in scripture and history. When conquerors who killed “infidels” are regarded as heroes of the faith; when the world is seen as divided into the “house of Islam” and the “house of war”; when dying for God is considered better than living for the sake of fellow humans; when non-Muslims are regarded as morally inferior; when many standard prayers end by asking God for “victory against the infidels”; and when apostasy and blasphemy are regarded as capital crimes – how can jihadi violence be seen as anything but the logical conclusion of such ideas and practices? And yet, these are all part of “mainstream” Islam – some of them derived directly from holy texts. What the extremists are doing is merely taking these ideas more literally and acting on them. The main thing separating most ordinary believing Muslims from the extremists is not so much the narrowness of belief – which they both share – but the willingness to match that belief with action. Small wonder, then, that the militants see non-violent Muslims as hypocrites, which in many ways is worse than being an infidel."

Mixing ethnicity and economics can be a dangerous game - "While the policy officially ended in 1990, its goals in eliminating poverty and restructuring society have continued as a policy paradigm. Some joke that its acronym actually stands for Never Ending Policy. Interestingly, the Malaysian government has constantly demonstrated extraordinary modesty in denying the accomplishment of its mission in uplifting the bumiputras or Malays, especially in equity ownership... While many independent bumiputra businesses have excelled even internationally, public enterprises predominantly run by bumiputra managers and bumiputra films profiting on government contractors are often underperforming, if not mismanaged. Similarly, while many top bumiputra students sponsored by the government to study in top universities overseas become leaders in their respective fields, weaker bumiputra students going through local universities — where meritocracy is not prioritised for both faculty and students — are disproportionately unemployed... Mr Hadi Awang, president of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, slammed his Pakatan partner Democratic Action Party’s advocacy of local elections. The hardliner Muslim nationalist warned that restoring local elections would lead to Chinese political dominance and eventually another May 13 riot. In comparison, Mr Ismail’s drumming up of hatred of the Chinese economic bogeyman did not make any reference to political violence. However, this is no less alarming for students of ethnic conflicts. The Jews in Germany, the Armenians in Turkey, the Indians in East Africa and the Chinese in a number of South-east Asian countries were once all labelled as the nation’s economic plague before becoming target of hostility, riots and looting, and even ethnic cleansing and genocides. No one knows how far Mr Ismail’s words will be taken on the ground if the economy crashes. His party colleagues are already cheering him as a hero. Mr Najib has just defended Mr Ismail, insisting that the minister was not targeting any group. Perhaps, Mr Ismail is not speaking only for himself."

Halal restaurants spark a new kind of French revolution - "The rapid growth in halal restaurants in the Paris region is part of a trend that has swept France in the last few years, says Abbas Bendali, president of the market research firm Solis, which studies developments among minority populations. The typical customers are the grandchildren of Muslim immigrants who arrived in France in the 1950s to help rebuild the country after the Second World War. They tend to be cultural rather than religious Muslims and have embraced halal food as their "sign of identity." "You could see this as a sign that French Muslims are segregating themselves, but it actually shows that they are becoming more integrated," he says. "Their country is France, they want to eat like the rest of France. But at the same time they want to hold on to part of their heritage."

Welcome to the Halal Inn: Britain's first alcohol-free Islamic pub - "Behind the bar, there are fizzy drinks and fruit juices, including non-alcoholic spritzers and buck's fizz for those special occasions. In addition to tea and coffee, a range of Asian snacks is available, while Islamic songs are played over loudspeakers. Pubgoers can play snooker, darts or karam, an Indian board game similar to billiards. Islamic-themed quiz nights have also been organised... "I think the main point of going to a pub for English lads is the drink, but here the aim is just to see your friends and relax a little bit." Almost as glaring as the absence of alcoholic drinks is the fact that there are no televisions at the inn. Mr Khan agreed that showing live football or cricket could attract more customers."

Strauss-Kahn trial hears of lunchtime sex parties - "When Judge Bernard Lemaire asked her directly what the two paid her for, she replied: "Well, I wasn't there doing the cleaning." Jade described the lunchtime parties as "classy", with men and women pairing off. During the investigation, she had described how a similar party involving Mr Strauss-Kahn was "carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor". Mr Kojfer, 74, who also gave evidence on Tuesday, is accused of providing local businessmen and police officials with prostitutes. Jade told the court that Mr Kojfer had once handed her cash directly for her work. In other cases, she said, the bill had been settled by Mr Alderweireld. She also said Mr Kojfer had paid the women involved much less than promised, telling them "times are hard". "But we got a free bathrobe," she added."

Anti-Israel Activists Shout 'Allahu Akbar' at Jewish Students at UC Davis - "After the resolution passed, vandals painted swastikas on a fraternity house which belongs to a Jewish organization... Ingraham said that the University of California school system prides itself on being tolerant, yet it shuts down views it disagrees with. According to Ingraham, many conservative and religious students feel they need to stay quiet on college campuses."

Has Creative Destruction Become More Destructive? - "Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction as the engine of capitalist development is well-known. However, that the destructive part of creative destruction is a social cost and therefore biases our estimate of the impact of the innovation on NNP and on welfare is hardly acknowledged, with the exception of Witt (1996). Admittedly, during the First and Second Industrial Revolutions the magnitude of the destructive component of innovation was probably small compared to the net value added to employment, NNP or to welfare. However, we conjecture that recently the new technologies are often creating products which are close substitutes for the ones they replace whose value depreciates substantially in the process of destruction. Consequently, the contribution of recent innovations to NNP is likely biased upward. This note calls for a research agenda to estimate innovations into their creative and destructive components in order to provide improved estimates of their contribution to NNP, welfare, and employment. "

78 women nabbed for vice and nine men for drink driving in Geylang police operation - "A total of 78 women, aged between 17 and 52, were arrested for vice-related activities"
At least they weren't 16...

British Muslims gather in London to protest against Muhammad cartoons - "Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, a senior spokesman for MAF, said: “Perpetual mistakes by extremists, either by cold-blooded killers or uncivilised expressionists, cannot be the way forward for a civilised society. The peace-loving majority of people must become vociferous in promoting global civility and responsible debate. At this time of heightened tension and emotion, it is crucial that both sides show restraint to prevent further incidents of this nature occurring.”"
Comment: "So what they are doing here is actually comparing murderers with satirists, saying that they are essentially the same: that is seriously, indeed dangerously skewed thinking is it not? The kind of thinking that actually leads to AK47s, balaclavas and cold blooded extremism in fact......Personally i think there is a world of difference myself between a killer and a cartoonist; one kills mindlessly , the other comments on society through the medium of art. Its worrying that Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, a senior, and i repeat SENIOR spokesman for MAF seems incapable of making that very basic and simple distinction, it is in fact worrying similar to the type of facisto double think employed by Wahhabist extremist King Saud last year when he referred to atheists as 'terrorists'. indeed is it not actually racist to call an artist 'uncivilized' because you dont like their output? those words seem to fly in the face of the values of openness and freedom of expression, and actually seem chillingly similar to something the German Nazi party would put out in the 30s about 'degenerate art'."

Sabah Christian dad in tears at first sight of daughter in tudung - "“She is only 16, underaged, and should not need to make a decision like this. Even if she had willingly declared the words (shahadah, the Islamic declaration of belief Allah and Muhammad), and wanted to convert, she and the school should have informed me,” said Jilius. Malay Mail Online had on Thursday reported that authorities are investigating the alleged “Islamisation” of a Christian student in SMK Kinarut near here by the school hostel’s warden. It is believed that the school’s former hostel warden had incited the conversion of the student with the recital of the shahadah, forcing her into embracing Islam despite being “underaged”... Christian groups in Sabah have recently cried foul to alleged furtive attempts to convert Bumiputera followers of the faith to Islam. In January 2014, a group of indigenous Sabahan villagers from the remote Pitas district were reportedly deceived into embracing Islam for RM100 by a Muslim welfare group. Sabah Council of Churches as well as the Roman Catholic Church of Sabah had also complained officially to the Education Ministry last year of a covert ploy to convert under-aged Christian students at the residential Labuan Matriculation College to Islam."

Einstein on Philosophy of Science

"I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth."

--- Albert Einstein to Robert Thornton, 7 December 1944

Friday, March 13, 2015

Romance

"You're so foolish, up on your romantic high horse - how often have you ridden it wildly until it went lame and you had to walk home?"

--- The Astonished Heart / Noël Coward

Links - 13th March 2015

Inside a high-tech San Francisco swinger's party - "The Bronze Party is referred to as a "lifestyle party," a modernized term for what many refer to as swinger's parties. Downstairs at the party, women wear stilettos and fishnet stockings and mingle with their significant others. Many take off garments as the hours pass. Upstairs, there's what's referred to as a "play room," full of mattresses covered in red sheets, where couples tend to gravitate later in the evening. They may have sex with each other. They may switch partners. Some just watch. These types of events are nothing new, but what makes this one different is its high-tech nature"

In violent outburst, Jelatek residents say ‘no’ to Chinese neighbours - "Fearing their Malay-majority city neighbourhood may soon be overrun by Chinese, a group of residents in Taman Keramat marched to the construction site of upscale condominium project Datum Jelatek here and violently tore down its cladding today. The group had warned of “bloodshed” last November if the luxury condo project, which sits on the former site of four blocks of Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) flats owned mostly by Malays, goes ahead. “This is a 100 per cent Malay area,” Salleh Majid, spokesman for the group, told Malay Mail Online when contacted over the phone. News portal The Malaysian Insider had reported a violent protest breaking out at the condo project site earlier today, but Salleh said the residents reacted aggressively to defend their homes from “Chinese occupation”... He also disapproved of local ethnic Chinese staying in the proposed project, when asked. “No. We already have this understanding… Keramat was created by Datuk Harun after May 13 to balance the Chinese population in the city with the Malays,” he said. “We have been through May 13 before, so why set fire to the oil? Why the need to provoke?” he asked, referring to the bloody racial clashes of 1969 that pitted the Malays against ethnic Chinese. The Keramat area was set up by the then Selangor Mentri Besar Harun Idris in a delicate attempt to achieve racial balance. Salleh said residents were afraid that the influx of Chinese to the area might force Malays to vacate, similar to other Malay settlements in the city in the past. The self-professed professional claimed this was a conspiracy by the predominantly Chinese DAP opposition party to open up Keramat to the Chinese, but he did not provide proof to support his allegation. “This is all a DAP agenda,” Salleh alleged, before adding, “This project came amid insults to the Malays like the ‘Allah’ issue and others”... He claimed the prices were intentionally set high so that only other races could afford to purchase the units."
If ethnic cleansing is to 'protect' a 'minority', is it still a bad thing?

Interview: Ian Tan - "When I was studying in a university in California, I was insecure and oversensitive—I felt like there was a lot of racism, when there really wasn’t"

Despite notice, more travelers taking weapons to airport checkpoints - "“How does that happen?” asked David Borer, general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents more than 45,000 TSA workers. “They don’t forget to put on their pants. They don’t forget to bring a toothbrush. But oh hey, they forgot they brought a gun? They’ve been on notice for this for 10 years, and it’s time to grow up and be responsible.”"

Jesus promised the end of wicked people, Odin promised the end of ice giants. Which one kept their promise? | Yahoo Answers

Iceland to build first temple to Norse gods since Viking age

Singapore Growth Falls But Still Doing Well - "Although Asianomics doesn’t say it, the report comes at a time when the leadership has largely fossilized, with the country seemingly awaiting the death of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder in whose image the country has been built. Lee is now 91, fully retired, and appears increasingly frail... Government officials may be more pessimistic than they need to be, according to the report. “Searching for the next growth strategy appears to be the main pastime.” The answer, however, is to do less. The government, the report says, “just has to find a way to get involved in every aspect of economic life.” According to one source there are now over 200 schemes to incentivize business, some of them “so ill-thought-out that they would be better called scams than schemes (like paying business S$120 for every S$100 spent on robotic cleaning devices)”... The myriad incentive schemes often have unintended consequences. For example, by raising the levy on foreign construction workers the government intended to increase their skills base. Instead, search firms went out and looked for even lower skilled and cheaper labor to offset the effective tax increase. Instead of being productivity enhancing the higher tax has had the opposite effect... Employment is almost at capacity, with only 2 percent unemployment. “Anyone with a brain is gainfully employed in Singapore,” the report quotes a source as saying. However, while fully employed, Singaporean workers have only just maintained their wage share of GDP at 42 percent and have seen some real income erosion as a period of high consumer price inflation followed the Western Financial Crisis and the forced reduction of interest rates to zero in the economy. The slowing of GDP growth may look disheartening, the report notes, but Singapore is now a rich-country economy and “there is nothing the government needs to do or should be doing about increasing that range – although it would be well-advised to rationalize the various incentive schemes, as well as reversing some of the tax breaks for multinational companies who can do quite well enough without them”... Singapore’s growth correlates rather closely with India’s, although there is no correlation at all with the growth rates of its closest neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia, in effect the country’s hinterland. With India expected to take off economically under the business-oriented leadership of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Singapore’ fortunes may improve as well."

Happy birthday, Orchard Towers! 40 years of sex and violence - "Its owners have been embroiled in high-profile court cases, including a peculiarly comical one where one of its partners was summoned to court for the number of dogs she kept in her house. A fortune-teller had advised her to keep her huge litter of dogs, as he claimed that they were the source of her luck...
Male visitors to the building are often welcomed by being hugged or even groped. Would you consider that molest, or extra-sales services?
It’s part of the service! If not, these bars would be no different from any other regular joint...
Have you had any funny encounters to relay?
One guy requested to put fruits into the girl who would then feed those fruits straight to him, then pee on him.
Another wanted someone who was lactating. I tried my best to make sure these clients got what they wanted...
What's your take on Singapore's licencing and sort of legalisation of prostitution?
Sex for sale is legal, pimps and agents are not. If the purpose is to protect women from exploitation, it would be better to legalise agencies which would be subject to licensing and health checks. This trade is not going to disappear. Singapore should make it safe for the women who work in this line. When agencies aren't wholly legal, they tend to side with clients and hush up girls whenever things go sideways, in order to protect themselves.
So are there any policy changes that you hope for?
Legalisation will do much more than sting and entrapment operations or public shaming. Legalisation so that girls are protected and do not need to shut up when they get hit or are robbed by clients, and health checks become mandatory. "

CRAZY: Muslims on Food Stamps DEMAND Food Meet Islamic Requirements (VIDEO) - "An Islamic women’s ‘advocacy group’ is DEMANDING a county in Minnesota change its food stamp policies to require a low-price, halal food shelf. The Isuroon Project says there is a ‘desperate need’ for a culturally specific halal food shelf in the metro area which would cost taxpayers more than $150,000!... Coming to America poor, they receive unlimited health services, free transportation, free housing, and children receive free education. In addition to halal food, gratitude is also in short supply."

Malaysia minister asks Malays to boycott Chinese businesses to reduce prices - "Malaysia’s agriculture and agro-based industries minister has called for Malay consumers to “boycott” Chinese-owned businesses who have been raising their prices indiscriminately, claiming this will leave businesses no choice but to reduce their prices... “As long as the Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take the opportunity to oppress the Malays,” he said"

ベッド紳士(山下お母さん) on Twitter: "ヒジャブには色々なスタイルがあります。しばしば顔が隠れる事で問題になるニカブやブルカもヒジャブの一種ですが、一般にヒジャブというと顔を出す装い方です。 http://t.co/JakTN68hMO"
Easy guide showing the difference between a Hijab, Niqab, Burka, Al-Amira, Shayla, Khimar and Chador

Report: Chechen women attacked with paintball guns for 'immodest' dress - "Chechnya's Kremlin-installed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has ordered Chechen women to wear "modest attire" that covers their entire bodies, including their heads, whenever they go outdoors, and has sent vigilantes into the streets to attack disobedient women with paintball guns... Kadyrov has publicly explained that Chechen women must be compelled to dress "modestly" in order to spare their menfolk the painful duty of killing them if they stray... "On most of the territory of Chechnya it is sharia law that operates, and not the laws of the Russian Federation," says Valentina Terevatenko, head of an independent women's union in the southern city of Novocherkassk, which has close ties with Chechen women's groups. "I think the silence of the Russian authorities about this can be explained by the exigencies of the war on terrorism. They are buying calm in Chechnya at the cost of human rights, including those of women.""

Russian Orthodox Church calls for dress code, says miniskirts cause 'madness' - "A top official of the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church has triggered a storm of outrage by calling for a "national dress code" that would force women to dress modestly in public and require businesses to throw out "indecently" clad customers. Women, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, can't be trusted to clothe themselves properly... While his proposed dress code would also apply to men who go into public wearing T-shirts, shorts, or track suits, the letter was most likely to rankle Russian women, who are famous for their love of shocking colors, generous makeup, and daring fashions... "The average Russian woman will just shrug this off and regard it as having nothing to do with her life"... "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either, she says.

"It’s not my job to educate you."

One man's View / "It’s not my job to educate you."

"Is a load of crap. It’s a cop out of the highest order. When you choose to represent a movement, you become an educator for that movement. It’s the reason I have been tagging my posts in both directions. I’m trying to call out hypocrisy on all sides. I see statements like these coming from all directions. LBGT(etc)s, MRAs, Feminists, even Equalists. They are all in the wrong when they say this.

If someone asks you to prove your stance, “Look it up yourself” or “It’s not my job to educate you” are not even remotely valid responses. At he very best a statement like that makes you look like you have no idea what you are talking about. As though you are only repeating talking points without actually understanding any of the data that backs it up. At worst it shows your contempt for everyone who questions you, and paints a picture that anyone who doesn’t immediately parrot your assertions is somehow beneath your notice. You know, that they are less than equal to you.

It is absolutely your job to educate people on your issues. It is not their job to know intrinsically what your life experiences are, or seek out the history of whatever group you think they should be educated on. Going a step further, if you run into someone completely ignorant of your movement, you are more culpable than they are. It means you have not been effective spreading your message. If you run into someone who doesn’t know about your movement, the proper lexicon, or even that you face an inequality, it’s your fault, not theirs."

*

This is Kale Privilege — On "It's Not My Job to Educate You"This is Kale Privilege — On "It's Not My Job to Educate You"

"If you’ve ever had an argument with a social justice warrior, he/she/zhe/zippitydoodah will probably tell you that you’ve said something “problematic” but refuses to tell you why because “it’s not my job to educate you.”

In a sense, that’s true. It’s certainly not a Tumblr SJW’s job to educate anyone (at least I hope to God these people aren’t in charge of teaching anyone) but it’s a bit of a cop-out—a way of winning an argument without ever having to prove your point.

But of course, logic is the all-time last priority for an SJW. If logic was ever actually implemented in their arguments, the more radical SJWs (you know, the ones who say things like “kill all white men”) would all just stop blogging.

It would make sense if the SJW argument was something normal and common knowledge, like “Racism is bad!” or “Many people harbor prejudices without knowing it!” But often, the things they are being asked to prove are so absurd and radical that, yeah, nobody is going to take their word for it without some evidence. And because most of their opinions are based solely on their feelings and not on actual facts, they respond with “it’s not my job to educate you.”

Now, in the SJW’s defense, they do receive lots of anonymous “asks” probably asking the same questions over and over again. I’m sure this gets tiring, but I wonder why it’s even necessary to respond. Surely, you can just ignore asks that you don’t like, or don’t think are worth answering?

And let’s not forget that running a blog full of your radical opinions means that OF COURSE people are going to be confused and ask questions. If I started a blog about how astrology is the best way to find a mate (I don’t really think this, as I’m not a moron, but for argument’s sake, let’s say I made this blog), I would kind of expect to get lots of questions like “Really? How do you know that astrology means anything?” While it wouldn’t be my *job* to educate these people, it would be kind of lame of me to rattle on and on about an absurd viewpoint and then not even bother to answer questions about it.

Of course, SJWs do have some reasonable viewpoints; it’s just that they take it too far. For example, none of them have ever been able to explain why it’s OK or accepted to change the definition of dictionary words (such as sexism or racism) to exclude certain sexes and races. If you ask them why racism now only applies to systemic, and not individual racism, they won’t explain why it’s possible to change the dictionary to your liking (because, well, shit, it isn’t) but instead they’ll say either that it’s not their job to educate you, you’re a racist, or some gif of a My Little Pony calling you a cracker.

The whole point of arguing is being able to back up your opinion with sources or at least well thought-out reasons why you feel the way you do. If you’re unable to do this (yes, it’s “not your job” but this is the whole point of arguing) then it’s not an argument at all.

Think about it- if someone told you that it was offensive to say the word “peach” but refused to tell you why, would you actually stop saying it? My guess is, you’d write that person off as a maniac unless they told you why that word was so terrible. How can you expect people to go along with your nonsense if you can’t even explain it?

When someone responds to your question with something inexplicable, ad hominem or otherwise childish, you pretty much know you’ve caught them in a bind. So when you hear “it’s not my job to educate you,” you’re actually hearing that you’ve won, about 85% of the time (source: me, and it’s not my job to educate you about how I figured out this number.)"

*

Just Smith. / Your Job is to Educate. Stop Denying it.

"If you have spent any time arguing with SJ activist bloggers, you may have seen one of the following lines;

“Educate yourself.”

“It’s not my job to educate you.”

“Just Google it.”

“I don’t have the spoons to explain it to you.”

Now do you know how I know that an SJ activist blogger is in it just to feel morally superior to others and to good about themselves and really doesn’t give a shit about SJ causes? Because they break out the aforementioned lines.

Now what does an activist do? “Well duh, ChromatophobicCuttlefish, they raise awareness!” You may answer. Well how do you raise awareness? “By educating people about social justice causes!” And there’s the ticket.

Education is a massive part of activism. The onus is not on the average joe to go look up everything YOUR movement is about, it’s your responsibility to know what the fuck you’re talking about, not the person you are talking to. If the potential ally already knew what the hell you were talking about, then most likely s/he would’ve considered your position by now.

Education is the thing that could bring someone to your side of thinking, shrieking at someone like a hyperactive howler monkey about how it’s not your job to raise awareness (which is interchangeable with “educate”) is a surefire way to scare off potential allies and goes against the entire act of activism.

Let’s take a scenario that happened here at my pissant liberal arts college. Some students were gathering signatures to change where the college invests so it wouldn’t fund companies that fund the Israeli Palestine conflict. I fell asleep during world history, so I know fuck all about the conflict. I asked the people who came by my door to tell me about the conflict, what they’re proposing to change, and how it would affect the college. They were more than happy to tell me all about the conflict, handed me a pamphlet that detailed their proposal and history of the companies they wanted to stop investing in. Remember; their goal is to make me aware of the problem and get my signature.

Imagine if they showed up at my door and just rattled off a bunch of SJ lingo. And when I asked them what they’re talking about they just go “Look, not my job to educate you, just go open a history book or Google it or something. Sign the petition.” If you were in my shoes, would you want to sign? Hell no. Because they look like they have no idea what they are crusading for. Which is the exact impression SJ bloggers give when they break out the defensive “go educate yourself” or “it’s not my job to educate you.”

If you are passionate about a cause, you know about the cause forwards, backwards, inside-out, and sideways. If someone asks, you’ll be happy to talk about it. That’s passion and activism. Moral superiority is refusing to raise awareness just to feel good about the fact you stomped some unknowing person’s face in by calling them a bigot for not knowing what you could’ve just fucking told them. It’s the equivalent to holding a child’s toy just out of their reach and watching them flail around to grab it.

You’re an activist. Be active."


"if you’re going to jump in and attack people, calling yourself an activist, then you’ve made a choice. You’ve made that choice, as a free person, and now you’re bound by the responsibilities involved. To start, you have the responsibility not to be a douche to that person. You can’t just come in and start harassing them without an explanation. That’s not even relevant to activism: this is just being a good human being. But if you’re an activist, you’re bound further. Shouting at somebody and calling them names is not going to raise awareness; or if it does, the awareness will be of the bad ‘oh look more stereotypical feminazis’ kind. You’ve got an opportunity to spread your movement, but you’re also now in danger of damaging your movement if you handle this poorly. You’ve taken the label, you’ve chosen to jump in on this person and be an activist, and so you do have an obligation now to be an activist! If you don’t want to, then fine. If you don’t have the spoons, then fine. If you’re going to get triggered and can’t be expected to act reasonably, fine. Just don’t call yourself an activist. It’s not my responsibility to teach children about geography, but if I make the choice to call myself a geography teacher and enter a classroom full of children, then I have created that responsibility for myself. I wouldn’t normally owe them anything, but now I do."

Star Wars promotes gay lifestyle / Sex in literature

Star Wars promotes gay lifestyle

When it comes to pushing the gay agenda, is there such a thing as overdoing it? It's one thing to have literature or serious dramas with gay characters – after all, sexuality is often a part of stories about people's lives.

But what about action stories and action films? Do you really need to know if Indiana Jones had a thing for his assistant Short Round? Are there Klingon same-sex couples? Did Godzilla have a thing for King Kong? In these kinds of stories, talking about sexual preferences isn't really relevant.

But Disney, which now owns Lucasfilms, feels differently. The people at Disney have created the first "official" gay character

... the upcoming novel “Lords of the Sith” will feature a capable but flawed Imperial official named Moff Mors who “also happens to be a lesbian.”

How does someone just "happen to be a lesbian"? And what does "capable but flawed" mean? Moff Mors is good at exterminating rebels but sort of awkward at kissing other girls? Or is she a flawed Imperial who is a good lesbian, not very good at stomping out rebellion but good at keeping her partner satisfied?

Normally, when I read a Star Wars novel, I don't need to know these things. No previous Star Wars novels have talked about the sexuality of Imperial officers. But since Star wars is bringing this up now, I guess we need to know.

Perhaps they will also reveal whether Jawas are polygamous, and whether Sand People are into bondage. And do robots, who technically have no gender, have compatible USB slots? And when the Emperor "seduced" Anakin Skywalker, was it really only a metaphorical seduction?

This isn't the first foray of Star Wars into sexuality. In the online computer game "Star Wars: The Old Republic," you can play a Jedi or a Sith and fight storm troopers or rebels or pilot spaceships or...go to the planet "Makeb" and pursue a virtual same-sex relationship with another character. What does that have to do with anything else in the game?

You see, this is the part I don't understand: taking films and books and games meant for kids that have nothing to do with sexuality and injecting this kind of stuff in them. I wish this political correctness would draw the line somewhere. You may think I'm joking, but I'll bet 10 years from now they will have gay cornflakes and gay pencils and gay toothpaste and gay corned beef sandwiches and sexual orientation tied into every little thing in your everyday life.


There aren't any complaints that 50 Shades of Grey promotes the "BDSM Lifestyle", but then that is rather the point of the book, isn't it? Not so young adult fiction.

This is similar to how George R.R. Martin is also accused of "gratuitous" sex (i.e. unnecessary sex).

One of points of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award is that if you can't do sex well (broadly defined), you shouldn't do it at all:

The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them. The prize is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature.

To wit, it is not the description of sex that is mocked, but the bad and/or unnecessary inclusion of it.


Bleak encounters - FT.com

"Auberon Waugh, Literary Review’s former editor, founded the prize with crusading purpose. He was genuinely convinced that publishers were encouraging novelists to include sex scenes solely in order to increase sales. The award’s remit was “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it”. But it is rather hard to convey the redundancy of a passage to an audience that has not read the entire novel, and so the prize has evolved to acknowledge the absurd, the implausible, the overwritten and the unwittingly comical.

Last year’s winner, Rowan Somerville, managed to tick all the boxes in a single sentence from The Shape of Her: “Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.” Tom Wolfe was victorious in 2004 for trying to make the word “otorhinolaryngological” intimate, as well as for this bizarre evocation in I Am Charlotte Simmons: “Moan moan moan moan moan went Hoyt as he slithered slithered slithered slithered and caress caress caress caress went the fingers.” In 1998, one of the characters in Sebastian Faulks’s Charlotte Gray made love in fear of his life: “This is so wonderful I feel I might disintegrate, I might break into a million fragments.” Faulks didn’t see the funny side of things, so runner-up Alan Titchmarsh received the prize that year instead."

"Chinese must speak Chinese" / The Centrality of China to Chineseness

"Mother always felt exceedingly guilty about our language deficiency and tried to make us study Chinese, that is Mandarin, the national dialect... [But] I suppose that when I was young there was no motivation to study Chinese...

‘But China was once the greatest and most cultured nation in the world! Weren’t you proud to be Chinese? Wasn’t that reason enough to study Chinese?’ Many people felt this way but unfortunately we just didn’t feel very Chinese! Today we are described by one English writer as belonging to ‘the sad band of English-educated who cannot speak their own language’. This seems rather unfair to me. Must we know the language of our forefathers when we have lived in another country (Malaysia) for many years? Are the descendants of German, Norwegian and Swedish emigrants to the USA, for instance, expected to know German or Norwegian or Swedish? Are the descendants of Italian and Greek emigrants to Australia expected to study Italian and Greek? Of course not, and yet overseas Chinese are always expected to know Chinese or else they are despised not only by their fellow Chinese but also by non- Chinese! Perhaps this is due to the great esteem with which Chinese history, language and culture are universally regarded. But the European emigrants to the USA and Australia also have a not insignificant history, language and culture, and they are not criticized when they become English speaking."

--- On learning Chinese in Rainbow Round My Shoulder / Ruth Ho


"If the ‘Indonesian Chinese’ can be described as a distinctive ‘people’ - one which, as I have sketched above, has its historical birth in colonial Dutch East Indies —- then they in turn have become diasporized, especially after the military coup in 1965. While my parents, among many thousands, chose the relative wealth and comfort of a life in the Netherlands (‘for the sake of the education of the children’), I was recently informed by an aunt that I have some distant relatives in Brazil, where some two hundred Indonesian Chinese Families live in Sao Paulo. There is also a large Indonesian Chinese community in Hong Kong, many of whom ended up there after a brief ‘return’ to ‘the homeland‘, Mao’s China, where they found, just like my grandfather earlier in the century, that their very ‘Chineseness’ was cast in doubt: the mainlanders did not consider them Chinese at all (Godley and Coppel 1990). Nevertheless, this Chineseness has never ceased to be a major identity preoccupation in this unlikely diaspora...

But this symbolic orientation toward the ‘homeland’ tends to complicate the problem of identity, as ‘China’ is presented as the cultural / geographical core in relation to which the westernized overseas Chinese is forced to take up a humble position, even a position of shame and inadequacy over her own ‘impurity’. In this situation the overseas Chinese is in a no-win situation: she is either ‘too Chinese’ or ‘not Chinese enough’. As Chow (1991: 28/9) has observed, ‘Chinese from the mainland are [often felt to be] more “authentic” than those who are from, say, Taiwan or Hong Kong, because the latter have been “Westernized".’ But the problem is exacerbated for more remote members of the Chinese diaspora, say, for the Indonesian peranakan Chinese or for second-generation Chinese Americans, whose ‘Chineseness’ is even more diluted and impure.

OF course, this double-bind problem is not unique to migrants of Chinese descent. In a sense, it enters into the experience of all diasporie peoples living in the West. What is particular to the Chinese diaspora, however, is the extraordinarily strong originary pull of the ‘homeland’ as a result of the prominent place of ‘China’ in the Western imagination. The West’s fascination with China as a great, ‘other’ civilization began with Marco Polo and remains to this day (see e.g. MacKerras 1991). In the Western imagination China cannot be an ordinary country, as a consequence, everything happening in that country is invested with more than ‘normal’ significance, as testified by the intense and extreme dramatization of events such as the ‘Tiananmen massacre’ and the ‘Hong Kong handover’ in the Western media (Chow 1993; 1998a). There is, in other words, an excess of meaningfulness accorded to ‘China’; ‘China’ has often been useful for Westem thinkers as a symbol, negative or positive, for that which the West was not. As Zhang Longxi (1988: 127) has noted, even Jacques Derrida, the great debunker of binary oppositions, was seduced into treating the non—phonetic character of the Chinese language as ‘testimony of a powerful movement of civilization developing outside of all logocentrism‘, that is, as the sign of a culture totally different from what he conceives as Western culture. Worse still, this powerful othering is mirrored by an equally strong and persistent tendency within Chinese culture itself to consider itselfas central to the world, what Song Xianlin and Gary Sigley (2000) call China's ‘Middle Kingdom mentality’, exemplified by the age-old Chinese habit to designate all non-Chinese as ‘barbarians’, ‘foreign devils’ or ‘ghosts’. This is a form of self-Orientalization expressed in the famous inward-looking aloofness of Chinese culture criticized, within China itself, in the controversial television series River Elegy, and which I also sensed in Lan-lan’s ultimate insistence, through a paradoxical, assertive defensiveness in relation to the West, on China’s pure otherness.

In the interlocking of this mutual discursive exclusionism overseas Chinese people often find themselves inevitably entangled in China's elevated status as privileged Other to the West, depriving them of an autonomous space to determine their own trajectories for constructing cultural identity. I recognize Rey Chow’s (1991) observation that there is, among many Chinese people, an ‘obsession with China’. What connects the diaspora with the ‘homeland’ is ultimately an emotional, almost visceral attachment. The relationship is, to use Amitav Ghosh’s (1989) term, an epic one. it is precisely this epic relationship which invests the homeland myth with its power: it is this epic relationship to ‘China’, for example, which made millions of overseas Chinese all over the world feel so inescapably and ‘irrationally’ sick and nauseous when the tanks crushed the students’ movement at Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989, as if they felt the humiliation on their own bodies, despite the fact that many, if not most of them would never think of actually ‘returning’ to this distant ‘motherland’. The desires, fantasies and sentimentalities that go into this ‘obsession with China’, says Chow (1991: 25), should be seen at least in part as ‘a response to the solicitous calls, dispersed internationally in multiple ways, to such a [collective, “Chinese”] identity’. In other words, the subjective processes of diasporic ethnic identification are often externally instigated, articulating and confirming a position of subordination in relation to Western hegemony...

It is by recognizing the irreducible productivity of the syncretic practices of diaspora cultures that ‘not speaking Chinese‘ will stop being a problem for overseas Chinese people. ‘China; the mythic homeland, will then stop being the absolute norm for ‘Chineseness’ against which all other Chinese cultures of the diaspora are measured. Instead, Chineseness becomes an open signifier, which acquires its peculiar form and content in dialectical junction with the diverse local conditions in which ethnic Chinese people, wherever they are, construct new, hybrid identities and communities. Nowhere is this more vigorously evident than in everyday popular culture. Thus, we have the fortune cookie, a uniquely Chinese-American invention quite unknown elsewhere in the Chinese diaspora, or, for that matter, in China itself. In Malaysia one of the culinary attractions is nonya food, a cuisine developed by the peranakan Chinese out of their encounter with local, Malay spices and ingredients. Some time ago I was at a Caribbean parry in Amsterdam full of immigrants from the Dutch West Indies; to my surprise the best salsa dancer of the party was a young man of Chinese descent who grew up in Surinam. There I was, facing up to my previiously held prejudice that a Chinese can never become a Latino!"

--- On Not Speaking Chinese: Diasporic identifications and postmodern ethnicity / Ien Ang


Language And Identity

""Linking identity and language so tightly has its problems. One can feel proud of being Chinese, while not having full mastery of the language. If I may cite a personal example, I studied in Malaysia until my O levels and came to Singapore for A levels. In Malaysia, the language of instruction was Malay. Of course, the easiest subject for me was Malay. I got a distinction for my A levels. But it does not follow that because I got a distinction, I am more Malay than say, a Malay who got a credit or who got an F in Malay."
MISS IRENE NG (Tampines GRC), speaking in English.
Straits Times...

It says alot about the level of Chinese proficency in Singapore when nine out of ten people in your office didn't recognize the difference between the characters 论 ("debate") and 轮 ("wheel") until the client (from Indonesia) pointed it out to us. (The tenth person, by the way, was a Malay.) Dennis Bloodworth had commented in his book rather scathingly about "the sad band of English-educated who cannot speak their own language and who, in terminal cases, not only know nothing of their own history, but would rather eat bangers and mash and raspberry jelly than a curry or Cantonese rice." (Ouch. And by an ang moh too. Double ouch.)...

As a kid, I never learnt the dialect generations had spoken before me. On the other side, my grandparents never learnt to be comfortable with Mandarin, the common tongue lauded by the government to unite the segmented Chinese all babbling Cantonese, Hakka and Teochew at each other. It worked, but it also caused a great divide between one generation and the next. At family gatherings, I blinked blankly at any conversation attempt by my grandparents in Teochew even if it is something as simple as a query on my studies. It can't even be said that we drifted apart, my grandparents and I. We never connected in the first place."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Aesthetic values vs Aesthetics

"He could assure Eustace that Bologna was living up to her ancient reputation. They were doing the most exciting work in crystallography; and in his latest lectures on Aesthetics, Bonomelli was using all the resources of modern psycho-physiology and the mathematics of many directions. Nothing quite like Bonomelli's Aesthetics had ever been seen before.

Eustace wiped his mouth and drank some Chianti.

'I wish one could say the same thing of contemporary Italian art,' he remarked, as he refilled his glass from the big-bellied flask in its swinging cradle.

Yes, the other admitted judicially, it was quite true that easel paintings didn't amount to much in modern Italy. But he had seen the most remarkable specimens of socialized and civic art. Classico-functional post offices, giant football stadiums, heroic murals. And, after all, that was going to be the art of the future.

'God,' said Eustace, 'I hope I shan't live to see it!'

Paul De Vries signed to the waiter to remove his almost untouched plate of lasagne, hungrily lighted a cigarette and continued:

'You're a specimen, if I may say so, of Individualistic Man. But Individualistic Man is rapidly giving place to Social Man.'

'I knew it,' said Eustace. 'Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying.'

The young man protested. He wasn't talking about regimentation, but integration. And in a properly integrated society a new kind of cultural field would arise, with new kinds of aesthetic values coming into existence within it.

'Aesthetic values!' Eustace repeated impatiently. 'That's the sort of phrase that fills me with the profoundest mistrust.'

'What makes you say that?'

Eustace answered with another question.

'What's the colour of your wallpaper in your bedroom at the hotel?' he asked.

'The colour of the wallpaper?' the young man echoed in a tone of astonishment. 'I haven't the faintest idea.'

'No, I thought not,' said Eustace. 'And that's why I mistrust aesthetic values so much.'"

--- Time Must Have A Stop / Aldous Huxley

Links - 12th March 2015

Steve Jobs Still Wins Plenty of Patents - "Jobs’s many patents “don’t make him one of the greatest American inventors in history,” says Florian Mueller, a programmer and patent consultant in Germany who has closely followed litigation around the iPhone. He notes that many of Jobs’s patents are on designs—like the look and feel of the iPhone—not on more substantial technical advances... One criticism is that on his patents, Jobs’s name often appears alongside a score of others, meaning these inventions or designs weren’t entirely of Jobs’s making. Instead, Jobs shared credit for what Apple’s more than 80,000 employees did, something Kane argues “fed into his legend as a one-in-a-lifetime visionary.”

Understanding Groupthink - "The assumption by many is that working as a group is superior to working individually, perhaps because groups have a larger information pool to work with. However, this line of thinking doesn’t square with research data, according to Assistant Professor Grace Park Guihyun from the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Social Sciences. “Research on group performance and productivity has shown that groups often fail to utilise such potential benefits, and end up performing at a sub-optimal level,” she says... simply listening to different opinions—regardless of the popularity of said opinions—and talking through decisions, can be a great boon to group efficiency. Indeed, previous research has found that even listening to minority opinions which are completely wrong can be beneficial. “In my study, it seemed that whenever the group majority took time to listen to the minority, they made stronger decisions collectively,” she says. “Acknowledging different opinions forces a group to think and talk through its decisions, thus achieving better understanding. By developing a more holistic perspective on the matter, the group is better equipped to make a decision.”
Diversity of opinion - not just shallow measures of diversity - is important. And quashing dissenting voices is bad

A letter to … the girl who accused me of rape when I was 15 - "I moved away from home and keep minimal ties with my old life, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget what you did. I don’t know why you told your friend that I had raped you – maybe because you didn’t want to admit you’d had sex so casually or maybe because you were scared. But I will never be able to forgive you for what you did to me. You damaged my perception of women entirely and the only relationship I have since been able to sustain is with a man I can trust."

The Muppets Turn The Tables With The Corpse-Filled Human Show

How many of your health supplements are actually snake oil?

European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction? - "The Socialist mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly, has referred to the Fafet-Brossolette district of the city as a "no-go zone" where "you can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house." Europe 1, one of the leading broadcasters in France, has referred to Marseille as a "no-go zone" after the government was forced to deploy riot police, known as CRS, to confront warring Muslim gangs in the city. The French Interior Ministry said it was trying to "reconquer" 184 square kilometers (71 square miles) of Marseille that have come under the control of Muslim gangs. The French newspaper Le Figaro has referred to downtown Perpignan as a "veritable no-go zone" where "aggression, antisocial behavior, drug trafficking, Muslim communalism, racial tensions and tribal violence" are forcing non-Muslims to move out. Le Figaro also reported that the Les Izards district of Toulouse was a no-go zone, where Arab drug trafficking gangs rule the streets in a climate of fear."

Kim Kardashian 'offered $1m' to spend night with Saudi prince - Telegraph

Kim Kardashian satirizes herself in T-Mobile's Super Bowl ad

Korean Air cabin crew chief forced to kneel in nut rage incident - "The head of cabin crew who was kicked off a Korean Air Lines flight after a company executive raged over the way she was served macadamia nuts said he was insulted and forced to kneel down to apologize to the executive."

Why Broadway Hates Stephen Sondheim - "His melodies, borrowing more from serious modern music than from the pop idiom, were meant to challenge the ear, not soothe it. Producers begged him to write some "humma-mamumma-mamum-mable melodies" (his derisive phrase from a number in Merrily We Roll Along), but he'd throw in a catchy tune or sentimental ballad only at gunpoint. When they do appear, it's usually toward the end of a show — "Our Time" from Merrily, "Sunday" from Sunday in the Park, "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods — and, if you're in the audience, you can feel the people around you relax in gratitude on hearing simple, lovely tunes in a major key. After the daunting homework of the rest of the score, these songs are the reward: musical sherbet"
Why I dislike Sondheim: The harmonic progressions don't get resolved, the syncopation is weird, the tunes are not melodious (off-melodious rather than dissonant), the counterpoint doesn't blend well, the music is repetitive

Here Comes Baby, There Goes the Marriage - WSJ - "About two-thirds of couples see the quality of their relationship drop within three years of the birth of a child, according to data from the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening families. Conflict increases and, with little time for adult conversation and sex, emotional distance can develop... expectant couples and new parents who participated in 24 weekly group counseling meetings experienced a much smaller decline in marital satisfaction over about five years compared with parents who didn't have the counseling. The rate of divorce, however, was the same for both. The study followed 66 couples with children and 13 childless couples. (Those without kids didn't see a decline in marriage satisfaction.)"

Berkeley students outraged course reading includes Plato, Aristotle but nothing from transgenders - "Two students at the University of California, Berkeley are calling for students to “Occupy the syllabus,” or consider dropping a course if it only includes the works of white men as class material. Students Rodrigo Kazuo and Margaret “Meg” Perret wrote an op-ed in The Daily Californian, the independent student newspaper, titled “Occupy the syllabus” where they called for a student-wide occupation of all social science and humanities classes after they found their upper-division course on classical social theory lacked the works of women, trans people, and people of color... “[T]he classroom environment felt so hostile to women, people of color, queer folks and other marginalized subjects that it was difficult for us to focus on the course material.” wrote the students. “Sometimes, we were so uncomfortable that we had to leave the classroom in the middle of lecture.” The students referenced an incident in the classroom where the professor was discussing how men and women are distinct from one another because women have the ability to give birth while men do not. The discussion is said to have turned highly offensive when the professor made no mention of trans people. When one student asked where trans fit into the lesson, the students claim the professor dismissed them as the “exception” to the lesson, which they deemed “unacceptable”... “[I]f you have taken classes in the social sciences and humanities, we challenge you: Count the readings authored by white males and those authored by the majority of humanity,” wrote the students. “Then ask yourself: Are your identities and the identities of people you love reflected on these syllabi? Whose perspectives and life experiences are excluded? Is it really worth it to accumulate debt for such an epistemically poor education?”... When Campus Reform asked the students if they would drop a course that didn’t comply with the standards they present with their article, Perret responded, “I’ve dropped classes because of their inadequate treatment of feminist and other critical perspectives. In fact, I dropped a class about sexual politics this semester because the syllabus was majority white men.”"
We should put all these people in airplanes designed and manned by transgendered people whose only qualification is being transgendered

What the Swedish Model Gets Wrong About Prostitution - "Today, we’re seeing a global shift in prostitution attitudes that looks startlingly like the one in Victorian England... The Swedish model (also adopted by Iceland and Norway and under consideration in France, Canada and the UK) may seem like a step in the right direction—a progressive step, a feminist step. But it’s not. Conceptually, the system strips women of agency and autonomy. Under the Swedish model, men “are defined as morally superior to the woman,” notes author and former sex worker Maggie McNeill in an essay for the Cato Institute. “He is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not.” Adult women are legally unable to give consent, “just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape.”"

Another Bad Argument For The Swedish Model For Prostitution - "They’re not actually counting either the amount nor the change in human trafficking into the sex trade. They’re counting the increase in illegal immigration to take part in the sex trade: something very different. We cannot therefore take this paper as being proof that the legality of prostitution increases human trafficking. Simply because that’s not what they’re measuring in this paper."

Practical travel information on Money and costs in Indonesia - Lonely Planet Travel Information - "Moneychangers in Bali offer some of the best rates in Indonesia if you don’t get short-changed or charged commission. Signboard rates are often a fabrication, and after signing your travellers cheque you may find that a 10% (or higher) commission applies. Be sure to double-check the conversion rate and be aware that some dubious operators even rig their calculators. Always count your rupiah before you hand over your travellers cheques or foreign currency. Several readers’ letters have warned of being short-changed through sleight of hand, particularly in Kuta. A way to avoid this is to count the rupiah in front of the moneychanger. When you are satisfied you have received the correct amount, hand over your currency or travellers cheques. If there are any problems during the transaction, leave with your cash and try another moneychanger. While the chances of getting short-changed at a bank are perhaps 50 to one, at a Kuta moneychanger the odds are more like 50-50"
Ahh! Asia!

Jonathan Haidt on Social Conservatives, New Atheists and Civility in Politics

Interview: Jonathan Haidt on Social Conservatives, New Atheists and Civility in Politics

"Well, it is true that I first got into this whole line of research because I was a liberal back then and I was shocked at how poorly the Democrats framed moral argument. So it is true that I first started studying political psychology with an eye towards helping the Democrats. But over time, I came to see that many conservative ideas are actually correct from a sociological perspective. It was in writing that chapter that made me finally realize that I was no longer a liberal. I handed that chapter to my wife to proofread, she's my first editor, I said to her, "Jane, I don't think I can call myself a liberal anymore."

It is true that I think Democrats can benefit from reading that chapter because it is about where they are most clueless. But my goal in the chapter isn't to help the Democrats. It's to help people on the left to understand what they're missing because the left fails to understand the right much more than vice versa...

My view is that left and right are like yin and yang. There's a quote I have in chapter 12 from John Stuart Mill, but this is really my credo: "A party of order or stability and a party of progress or reform are both necessary elements for a healthy state of political life."

The big breakthrough for me was, once I stopped disliking conservatives and could actually see what they were right about, they showed me a lot of things that liberals were wrong about. But at the same time, I think there are some things that liberals are right about that conservatives have trouble seeing.

Social reality is so complicated that, once you join one team or the other, you become specialized in detecting certain patterns, but you become blind to other patterns...

The left needs to fundamentally rethink what it stands for and recognize that the right is correct about many aspects of the way society works...

I think conservatives have a more correct view of human nature than do liberals. But, as I also say, I'm praising conservative intellectuals, not the Republican Party...

[Obama] clearly does understand the conservative foundations. He is extremely perceptive, in part from his experiences living in Indonesia and traveling. He understands moral diversity. He understands religion and conservatives. So he was able to speak a broader moral language when he was in campaign mode, but once he got into the White House he seemed focused on "inside-the-beltway" politics and his moral discourse seems to have been more standard, social justice liberal. So I think his appeal to the middle and some portions of the right has weakened. He has not made the case that strongly...

One of the great challenges in modern life is getting men to support women and children, and secular society does a disastrous job of that.

Social conservatives are very focused on strengthening the family and I think they are right to do so. One of the worst blind spots of the left has been its reluctance to say that marriage matters for children. The left has been afraid of alienating African-Americans and feminists and therefore was afraid to say that fathers matter. They really, really do matter. Charles Murray has been one of the voices of reason on this. Sociologists are now beginning to come around to see the importance of marriage and fatherhood...

If you are an atheist who treats science as sacred and you call yourself an apostle of science, then you are replicating many of the thinking patterns that you accuse religious people of having, namely, closed-mindedness, blindness to evidence, black and white thinking and attributing the worst motives to your enemies. I think all of these are clearly visible in the writings of the New Atheists...

Polarization is not bad in itself, but when it reaches very high levels, we demonize each other, we demonize the other side and compromise becomes impossible. We leave a lot of money on the table, as it were."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Links - 11th March 2015

15 minutes to tell if you’ll end in divorce - "“We discovered that when a couple has their first baby, 67 percent experience a tragic decline in their relationship happiness and an increase in hostility between the baby’s parents in the first three years of the baby’s life,” he said... Part of the Gottmans’ theory is that there are four major emotional reactions that are destructive to a marriage: Defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt. Among these four, they consider contempt the most damaging of them all."

5 Ridiculously Expensive Restaurant Menu Items - "230 Fifth's $2,300 hot dog
The famous rooftop lounge in Manhattan offers customers a super expensive hot dog that has thousands of dollars on your typical ballpark frank. This foot-long marvel is made from marbled Wagyu beef that takes 60 days to dry. It's smothered with white truffle butter, French imported mustard, and saffron ketchup, then covered in champagne cooked onions, homemade sauerkraut, and (what else?) caviar. Then just sprinkle on some gold leaf. Fortunately, those who buy this expensive wiener won't just be stuffing their wealthy faces with decadent food. They will also be making a sizable charitable donation to a local food bank with their purchase."

Power 98FM - Timeline Photos - "Hokkien for Dummies"

Why Do Facebook Users… Add Friends? Remove Friends? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Infographic List

Interview with Margaret Loesch, President of Fox Kids (1990-1997) - "I had been in children’s television since 1975. So by the time I got to Fox, and even at Marvel, I had seen a lot of kid’s shows and observed. I had been a part of some that worked and some that didn’t work. What I saw in X-Men was some of the same qualities that I saw in Spider-Man that nobody was dealing with and that is teenage angst: characters that were real yet worked in a fantasy situation, but their emotions were real. So with X-Men, I felt that the idea of a group of young people that were disenfranchised and had these real emotions and special powers that everybody would love to have except their powers were both a blessing and a curse. I felt that that human drama and tapping into the teenage 20-something angst was something I had never seen before in kids television…and I had seen a lot of stuff. That’s what excited me about X-Men. Interestingly enough, that’s also what excited me about Power Rangers, though slightly differently. With Power Rangers I felt what a hoot…what teenager wouldn’t want to have special powers and be able to transform themselves into superheroes to save the day and fight the enemy? Essentially with X-Men it was all about that angst and with Power Rangers it was about empowerment with teenagers. These are two themes I had never seen dealt with much in kid’s programming and I felt that the only way to make our network a hit was to try things that hadn’t been done before, or hadn’t been done in a long time. It wasn’t any great talent or any great gut that I had, it was my experience at seeing the same show done over and over again in so many different ways. I thought how I could excite kids with something they could identify with but was also fresh and different to them. "

Stumbling and Mumbling: The demand for quacks - "He studies not homeopathy but US patent medicines in the 19th century. Despite being practically useless, these enjoyed spectacular long-run growth - Professor Troesken estimates that spending on them grew 22 times faster than US GDP between 1810 and 1939. Why? The answer, he says, is that demand for them was inelastic with respect to failure - people kept buying them even though they didn’t work. This was because the medicines offered enormous consumer surplus; the products were cheap, but the benefits they offered were huge; there’s an analogy here with Pascal’s wager... What’s more, there were several things that stopped consumers learning that the entire industry was useless:
1. Many of the products contained morphine or alcohol, so even though the medicine didn’t make the patient better, it made him feel better for a while. In this regard, patent medicines were superior to homeopathy - and possibly better than at least cheap placebos.
2. Consumers of failed products didn’t tell others of their bad experience. Few people told their colleagues that their Nobby Stiles were as bad as ever.
3. There were countless new products coming onto the market, so someone who had tried many medicines could hope that the new one would finally do the trick. This is, however, not the whole story; several patent medicines had a long product life.
4. Companies spent a fortune on advertising"

Students Think They Can Multitask. Here's Proof They Can't

Answer to Why are women so negative about the "picking up women" school of thought? - Quora - "Negging is not about criticizing, or insulting, or lowering a girl's self-esteem. It's teasing, it's banter. It's what most people do with their friends on a daily basis and what makes conversations fun and interesting. The problem with most guys who hit on girls is that they completely dispose of the way they normally communicate with other people and start agreeing with everything women say in an effort to please them. They supplicate to them, which makes the interaction not only ingenuine, but extremely uncomfortable. The idea behind negging is really just saying that it's OK to poke and prod in a fun, playful way... the reason women are so negative about the pickup community is because media and society propagate false assumptions and incorrect beliefs about what it's all about. Women hate pickup because most of them don't really understand it. The seduction/pickup community is, at it's core, just a self-improvement community. And at the heart of every self-improvement system lies the question, what does it mean to be better? "

What It’s Like to Have a Micropenis - "My predictable physical ideal is a skinny, small-breasted, narrow-hipped, boyish, probably dark-haired, intellectually dominant woman who will not be bothered with makeup and such and will tell me exactly what she wants me to do and will get quite annoyed if I fail. I have never actually had a relationship with such a woman... I can tell just by the way people walk and the way they look and the way they relate to other people that they have a big penis. You go into a meeting and the guys are swaggering around with their legs akimbo as if they’ve been riding a horse because they’ve got such an enormous package they can’t really walk straight and it’s just crazy"

What the perfect breast looks like, according to men and women - "British doctors surveyed 1,315 people (men, women, and plastic surgeons), asking them to look at photos of different breasts and pick the proportions they liked best. The winning ratio across all three groups: 45:55, as in 45 percent of breast tissue falls above the nipple line and 55 percent below. Turns out, this is a “natural” shape—similar to the Venus de Milo—and nothing like the orb-like, fake boobs of yore."

Exploding Excrement Topples Building In China, Injuring 15 - "In another excrement-related incident, a man and his mother both died trying to retrieve his wife's new mobile phone -- worth 2,000 yuan ($320) -- from a toilet septic tank, reports said in May. The man jumped in to try to locate the phone but was overcome by fumes and passed out"

Officer testified he was punched twice - "US police officer Darren Wilson said he felt he was authorised to use force against Michael Brown after the teenager punched him twice in the face... Wilson said he went for his gun because he thought that a third punch from Brown could have 'knocked me out or worse'... One unidentified male witness who was working at a location near the shooting provided an account that aligned closely with Wilson's."

Israeli gay party promoter slammed for ISIS-themed party - "As the new Islamic State gains traction in the Middle East, we at Drek have decided to give in to Sharia law and cheer the stubborn Daesh"

Board games' golden age: sociable, brilliant and driven by the internet

Student: Men who have been raped still have more privilege than women - "Polick-Kirkpatrick alleged in her piece that when men participate in “feminist conversations about sexual violence,” women feel uncomfortable as men are “taking up much-needed space in their community” as, according to the student, women are most often the victims and men are most often the perpetrators. “When men want a space in this feminist conversation, it indicates the already prevalent patriarchal desire to control how oppressed groups fight their own battles,” Polick-Kirkpatrick wrote. “When one comes forward to report and discuss the atrocities they have experienced, this should not mean they take up the space of others in the same conversation, even within the feminist community.”"

Uber Quietly Removed Blog Posts Examining Link Between Prostitution And Rides - "mashing up with the San Francisco Crimespotting map, the team made a few determinations: “Areas of San Francisco with the most prostitution, alcohol, theft, and burglary also have the most Uber rides. Be safe, Uberites!” Then, the post goes off on a bit of tangent, as the authors get curious about the prostitution stats. They notice that prostitution arrests in both San Francisco and Oakland seem to spike the second Wednesday of each month. Why? “Someone pointed out to me that Social Security and welfare checks arrive on the second, third, and fourth Wednesdays of each month,” the team writes. “Oh man. Now we’re into dangerous, politically-charged territory”... “The company examined its rider data, sorting it for anyone who took an Uber between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday night. Then it looked at how many of those same people took another ride about four to six hours later – from at or near the previous nights’ drop-off point. Yes, Uber can and does track one-night stands. Consider it the Uber equivalent of the walk of shame.”"

People respond to incentives - even single mothers

A lot of criticism is leveled at Singapore for privileging married mothers with more benefits than single mothers (as a side note, mothers get more benefits than fathers - but that's another question).

Yet, people respond to incentives - even for such major life decisions such as marriage or the decision to have a child.

Since there is a ton of evidence that children of single parents do worse on a variety of measures than children with two, it is a reasonable (even prudent) public policy objective to promote the bearing of children in a two-parent family.

There isn't a lot of research on the topic, but here is what I've found:


The Impact of Welfare Benefits on the Conjugal Status of Single Mothers in Canada: Estimates from a Hazard Model

"This paper focuses on the determinants of the likelihood of a remarriage (marriage) for female heads with children... The empirical analysis is carried out using a pro- portional hazards model which permits the estimation of the effects of various covariates on the hazard of exiting single parenthood. The most striking result is the strong effect of provincial welfare benefits on conjugal union formation"


Marriage and Economic Incentives: Evidence from a Welfare Experiment

"Can economic incentives be used to affect marriage behavior and slow the growth of single-parent families? This paper provides new evidence on the effects of welfare benefit levels on the marital decisions of poor women. Exogenous variation in welfare benefit incentives arises from a randomized experiment carried out in California that allows me to measure responses beyond simple year-to-year changes in benefit levels. I find that a regime of lower benefits and stronger work incentives encourages married aid recipients to stay married, but has little effect on the probability that single-parent aid recipients marry. The effects on married recipients become larger over time, suggesting that long-run effects may exist."


Welfare and the Family: The Canadian Experience

"This article exploits the variation in payments and uses microdata to estimate the effect of changes in welfare benefits on welfare participation, single parenthood, births out of wedlock, divorce, and labor force participation among low—income women. In Canada, it would appear that welfare benefits influence these decisions"


The effect of economic stability on family stability among welfare recipients

"This paper explores the hypothesis that husband’s unemployment increases union dissolution among welfare recipients. The analysis uses data from California’s Link-Up demonstration project. A discrete-time event-history methodology was employed to examine family instability. The findings show that husband’s unemployment and the family’s long-term welfare dependency lead to breakup, net of race, age, and number of children"


The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?

"The recent literature on the effects of welfare on marriage and fertility includes studies employing a wide variety of methodologies and data sets and covering different time periods. A majority of the studies show that welfare has a significantly negative effect on marriage or positive effect on fertility rather than none at all, and thus the current consensus is that the welfare system probably has some effect on these demographic outcomes"


Addendum:

The Effects of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence

"This paper examines the effects of theWorking Families’ Tax Credit (WFTC) on couples in Britain. We develop a simple model of household decisions which explicitly accounts for the role played by the tax and benefit system. Its main implications are then tested using panel data from the British Household Panel Survey collected between 1991 and 2002. Overall, the financial incentives of the reform had negligible effects on a wide range of married mothers’ decisions, such as eligible (working at least 16 hours per week) and full-time employment (working at least 30 hours per week), employment transitions, childcare use, and divorce rates. Women’s responses, however, were highly heterogeneous, depending on their partners’ labour supply and earnings. Mothers married to low- income men showed larger responses in employment, especially if they had younger children. They were more likely to remain in the labour force and had higher rates at which they entered it. While more likely to receive the tax credit, they also experienced a greater risk of divorce. We find virtually no effect for women with higher-income husbands. Likewise, there are no statistically significant responses among married men."

Summarised by Alasdair Palmer:

"the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit has increased the divorce or separation rate by a staggering 160 per cent among women married to or living with a partner who either does not work, or who earns very little because he works part-time"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Links - 10th March 2015

Activists want 'feeling fat' emoji removed from Facebook - ""Feeling fat" currently appears as one of many preset options included in Facebook's dropdown list of status updates. Endangered Bodies, the group behind the initiative, wants the status and accompanying emoji removed because they believe it encourages body-shaming and "self-destructive thoughts". "When Facebook users set their status to 'feeling fat,' they are making fun of people who consider themselves to be overweight, which can include many people with eating disorders," according to the petition. "That is not OK. Fat is not a feeling. Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight. And all bodies deserve to be respected and cared for," it read... "You can choose from over 100 feelings we offer based on people's input or create your own," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying by Mashable."
Nowadays activism is about censoring people

Articles: Capitalism's to Blame for Global Warming, Boko Haram, Syria... - "Not surprisingly, the UK's main “progressive” newspaper, The Guardian, has provided its readers with a thoroughly Marxist analysis of Boko Haram's recent kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. Yes, revolutionary socialism may be almost dead in the UK; but Marxist theory is still alive and kicking. So why Marxist? Well this newspaper has blamed Boko Haram's actions on the economic and social problems supposedly caused by man-caused global warming in Nigeria. In other words, the Guardian doesn't blame Boko Haram for the actions of Boko Haram; it blames global warming. In fact I will argue that it ultimately blames Western capitalism. The Guardian's position isn't a surprise. This newspaper doesn't blame acts of terrorism on the terrorists who commit those acts either. (Unless the terrorist is white, right-wing and goes by the name of Anders Behring Breivik.) The Guardian, instead (depending on the article and the time of day) blames Islamic terrorism on: unemployment, the Iraq War, Islamophobia, racism, oil, the Danish cartoons, anti-Islamic films, the banning of the burkha, Westerners in Saudi Arabia, The Satanic Verses, Israel, 1967, the Balfour Declaration, autocratic Arab regimes (which are, of course, “propped up by the West”), the “far right”, “anti-terrorism legislation”..." Come to think of it, Noam Chomsky (much loved by Guardianistas) also blamed the Syrian war on global warming... According to Guardian journalists and nearly all other Leftists (not only self-described Marxists), Islam is but a mere “epiphenomenon of the socioeconomic conditions” which are hidden underneath (though, of course, they don't use those precise words)... The Marxist/International Socialist position on Islam (or on the actions of Muslims as Muslims) is both reductionist and essentialist: it's all about (Western) capitalism. In fact this position replicates the National Socialist (Nazi) theory that everything that's wrong with the world today is down to the Jews (or “Zionists”, as Jews are now known)."

PAS Youth: Sisters in Islam ‘insolent’, ‘extremists’ for contesting fatwa - "PAS Youth castigated Sisters in Islam (SIS) today for plans to challenge in the courts a fatwa, or religious edict, against liberalism and religious pluralism, labelling the Muslim women’s group as “insolent” and “extremist”. Defending Selangor’s Fatwa Council, the Islamist party’s wing also accused SIS of challenging the monarchy and the Federal Constitution, which it said puts Islam as the religion of the federation... Malaysia’s religious authorities have long derided liberalism and pluralism, with Friday sermons nationwide claiming a conspiracy by “enemies of Islam” to manipulate Muslims through ideas like secularism, socialism, feminism and positivism, in addition to the two"

‘Mango Casanova’ cons seven of RM300,000 - "Each woman is said to have fallen under the spell of the 53-year-old man after eating a ripe mango offered by him. Not only did he cheat the women, but he also slept with them after claiming that he had fallen in love, the daily reported. The man was also not choosy with his victims, who included an unmarried 25-year-old woman, single mothers in their 40s and 50s and even a 65-year-old grandmother. A divorcee who wanted to be known as Nita, 37, said she suspected that the man had used black magic on her as she blindly agreed to his demands."

TRIBUTE: Who exactly is Malaysia Airlines Captain Zaharie Shah of MH370? - "Besides aviation, he also has a YouTube channel that he has used to upload handy video guides. Here's a video of him teaching viewers how to save electricity by tuning their air conditioner. He truly has a good heart. Notice how he has the "pilot voice" even in his videos. He is also an avid chef, sharing different dishes for those around him just like a true Malaysian and Penangite"
There's something very naively and parochially Malaysian about this

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’: People who think they are drunk also think they are attractive - "Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance."

The Ladies of OkCupid

California teacher allegedly arranged beach trip for sex with students - "Lippert, a teacher at South Hills High School in West Covina, allegedly met up with a group of male students at the San Clemente beach in November, provided alcohol and had sex with one student. She is accused of then arranging an overnight trip there with students and Ghirelli, where the women allegedly had sex with students."

Singapore police defends handcuffing teens after picture goes viral - "The three boys arrested outside 112 Katong mall yesterday “were handcuffed for the safety of them and others”, said a police statement today... "The subjects were handcuffed for the safety of them and others as they had attempted to escape before Police arrival.""

Pes C9L9 - VAGSG Community
Table of PES status and what you can do

Blasphemy for Me, but Not for Thee - "the outpouring of support for free speech in the aftermath of the Paris attack coincides with, and partially obscures, the degradation of speech rights in the West. Commencement last year was marked by universities’ revoking of appearances by speakers Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali for no other reason than that mobs disagreed with the speakers’ points of view. I do not recall liberals rallying behind Condi and Hirsi Ali then... To dissent from the politically correct and conventional and fashionable is to invite rebuke, disdain, expulsion from polite society, to court the label of Islamophobe or denier or bigot or cisnormative or misogynist or racist or carrier of privilege and irredeemable micro-aggressor. For the right to offend to have any meaning, however, it cannot be limited to theistic religions. You must have the right to offend secular humanists, too."

How To Cook Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time - "I learned this cooking method from an old edition of Joy of Cooking, which gives this method its special label:Cockaigne, reserved for only their personal favorite and best recipes"

Chinese Girlfriends: North vs South! - YouTube

Alleged upskirt video was for shopping trip, says accused - "Yuen had admitted to taking the upskirt video of the victim in the statement. He claims that it was part of his preparation for a shopping trip to Malaysia with a friend"

The Sexual Peak Myth - "older women HATE HATE HATE younger women. Sex is power. Younger women have held it in spades over their elders. Being that everyone desires to wrench power out of the hands of people who hold it, older women and those soon to be of that demographic have an incentive to glamorize the twilight years... The myth has sustained because it gives women hope as they venture into the twilight of their ability to be incubators of seed and the commensurate degradation of their looks. Sex is power, and attaching that power to women of ever-increasing ages allows women to hang on to it longer. Older women have declared war on younger women. Through wishful thinking they seek to destroy every benefit and short cut that younger, prettier women have even though they benefited from the same attitudes at an earlier point in their lives... When Madonna was younger, she was considered a slut. Her book Sex was considered raunchy and disgusting. Now that she’s old and in her “sexual prime” she is given a free pass to perform in sexually-suggestive ways. Her behavior today, while not as risque as that when she was younger, is lauded as empowering and even artistic."

Le juge de sexe masculin, une espèce de plus en plus rare - Rue89 - L'Obs - "Rue89 a minutieusement fait les comptes : sur les 153 admis au « premier » concours de l’Ecole nationale de magistrature (ENM), dont les résultats ont été rendus publics ce vendredi, seulement 20 étudiants sont des hommes. Soit un chiffre riquiqui : 13%. Encore moins que l’année passée."

I just love these weird korean comics. - Imgur

La pornographie va-t-elle devenir une nouvelle discipline universitaire ?

Irish nudist begs pardon for alarming French nuns - "“A little later on in the evening, he had put his clothes back on and actually returned to the priory. He came to the chapel and prayed for a while with us,” he said. “He told us that walking around naked makes him feel closer to nature, or something like that. He asked if he could stay with us last night, but we refused,” Brother Cornelius concluded."

Employment Agency Apologizes For Hooking Teen Up with Brothel Job - "The Colosseum is a so-called "wellness brothel," where other accommodations such as a swimming pool and sauna are typically offered to patrons."
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