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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Links - 13th January 2016

Duke dean: “You can’t be a great scholar, and be intolerant - "I asked Duke for a follow-up comment, and they passed along this e-mail that Dean Ashby sent four days later, which in the fourth paragraph says, “we equally recognize intellectual freedom and the courage to hold, articulate and defend and debate ideas, whether popular or not, as an essential value of the university.” (I quote the entire e-mail below.) Query which message Duke faculty are likely to be getting: “we equally recognize intellectual freedom and the courage to … debate ideas, whether popular or not” — or “you can’t be a great scholar, and be intolerant. You have to go.”"

Smith College bars reporters from sit-in, unless they agree “to explicitly state they support the movement in their articles”

A ‘superbug’ emerges in China to remind us that antibiotics won’t last forever - ""Polymyxins were the last class of antibiotics in which resistance was incapable of spreading from cell to cell," co-author Jian-Hua Liu, a professor at Southern Agricultural University in Guangzhou, told the AFP... Polymyxins are meant to be reserved for dire medical cases — after all, these drugs are too toxic for a human to want to consume. But in China, their rare usefulness in humans has led to a secondary use: animal husbandry. Chinese pigs are some of the biggest consumers of the drug colistin, a kind of polymyxin, which is used to fatten them up. The researchers report that this is almost certainly the breeding ground of the resistance, and that the Ministry of Agriculture has launched an investigation to assess this."

White Tigers Are Hybrid, Inbred, Mutant Freaks That Shouldn’t Take Up Zoo Space

Zoolander 2 isn’t just bad for trans people – it’s a step backwards for us all - "you may have come across a petition asking you to boycott the film Zoolander 2. A trailer for the movie features a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch introduced as “the most famous supermodel in the world”, the androgynous “All”. “This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority,” the petition claims, asserting that the portrayal is “an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals”. The trailer has upset many people, and the petition (as I write) has collected nearly 12,000 signatures and much commentary... Most comedy could be described – advertised, even – as “over-the-top, cartoonish mockery”. And we’re OK with that when the targets are appropriate: reality TV stars, politicians, the posh. “Punching up”, it’s sometimes called. Lampoon the lucky, the strong, those who can bear it – topple the oppressors, but never the oppressed... The destruction of gender binary would free everybody."
If you're really oppressed, you've more important things to worry about than flippant jokes in a movie
Comments: "I thought trans was all about supporting the gender binary- not destroying it at all."
"'Equal-opportunity mockery.'
That's where the article should've ended. Oh, and please stop using the term 'cis'. It's offensive :)"
"Has anyone actually seen this movie?"
"you might find that most transgender people AREN'T outraged. Maybe they're amused. Maybe they're just normal people like us who don't get offended at the smallest thing..."
"I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!! I am a transwoman and I can't for the life of me see what is offensive? The character of "All" has only one line, "All is all." Is this supposed to be offensive? Is it supposed to be offensive when Zoolander and Hansel, who, by the way, are potentially the stupidest people in the fashion industry, have some confusion about hir gender and ask? I get asked, and it's not offensive in the least! It's more respectful to ask than to assume and pass a rude comment. Or is it offensive that the producers introduce androgyny and gender variance in their film in the first place? Their fashion industry film. Is it offensive to talk about gender variance in a film about fashion? Or is it offensive to attempt to censor everyone and their brother and pin the blame on people like me, to use my situation and YOUR assumptions about what offends me to silence others? In my mind, it's that last thing."
"There is no better way to promote acceptance than to be willing to include trans people in your comedy and world. If you think anyone that goes to see this movie sees it as 'reality', you are the delusional one. Welcome to mainstream reality. When people feel safe to make fun of you, it means you are accepted."
"As a gay middle eastern man in my 50's who grew up with other gay men and transsexuals and has heard and had every nasty thing said about me and us, you and this movement of censorship has caused more frustration and shame than any of those things. I'm not saying you shouldn't speak out for those who are ridiculed or marginalized but by always harping and hysterically trumping all this outrage you do many of us a disservice and perpetuate the myth that we are all delicate flowers always offended. It's not the truth and I dare say if you we to approach a group of rational people who have gone thru the things many of us have you used be surprised to find many don't agree with any of this. You have your petition, mostly signed by supporters you mostly find on Tumblr. You don't speak for me or my community, but you have the right to try."
"If you can't laugh at yourself sometimes your doomed. Are you sure the character is even trans? They could be poking fun at those male models that are so pretty they could be women."
"I'm gay and didn't even consider someone that's straight playing gay as "gay face". Everyone needs to get over themselves and just laugh. If more people laughed at themselves then maybe the world would be a better place. If you see someone exaggerated one of your traits then just laugh because you know on some level it might be a bit true lol."

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Eat my words! - "Scandinavia's very strong, surprisingly. Scandinavia's the place where more books are sold by a person than any other country in the world. There's a general trend, which is that in any hemisphere, the closer you are to the north, the more they buy cookbooks. So the colder you are, the more you eat or the more you want cookbooks. Countries from the South in Europe buy less cookbooks per capita than countries in the North...
People have been writing about food in a semi-pornographic way for centuries. I just think it's gone a bit too far now in that people are putting so much of their erotic energy into writing about food that they don't have enough other areas of life...
It's nice to look at a menu that is offering you a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. But in fact it says it's rosemary ham, aged cheddar and white onions. I slightly wondered what white onions were, and then I realised they're just normal onions, but describing them as white makes it seem, again, just so much more delicious and unique than a ham and cheese toastie"

Freakonomics » Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All: A New Freakonomics Radio Episode - "DUBNER: What’s it like for you to be sitting here, to have wanted to intervene much more directly in Syria, not being part of a team that took that direction, and seeing the aftermath?
SLAUGHTER: Intensely frustrating. It is just agonizing to see the paper every day because this was so completely predictable. And it’s been predictable. We’ve got a government that’s been using chemical weapons, that’s been dropping barrel bombs on its people. Now what’s happening is even the Syrian government supporters are fleeing. But, this goes to a point that I have made over and over and over again that the divide between strategic interests and humanitarian interests is a false one. That you could see that where a country’s population is being driven out of their homes and being massacred by their governments, sooner or later, very bad things will happen. Extremists will move in, and people will move out. And then that becomes a national security interest. And that’s what we’re seeing right now. But it was predictable. And we could have done something to stop it. And we didn’t. And now the problem is so much worse...
some people thought that she was a traitor to the feminist cause – that, if a woman as well-credentialed and well-situated as Anne-Marie Slaughter had to put aside her dream career, what did that mean for the average working-class woman? And that was just the public response. It was what she heard from people she knew that really surprised her."

Freakonomics » Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them? A New Freakonomics Radio Episode - "ZELIZER: When children were taken in by foster families in the 19th century, they were taken in because of their labor value. Not that they were necessarily unloved; I don’t think we can judge past psychologies. But they certainly were taken in for that. And babies were — nobody wanted babies in their households in the late 19th century... But the enormous transformation, by the 1920s or so, it is the babies that become the hot commodity. Especially blonde, curly-haired, blue-eyed little girls got prime market value. And then starts the fact that people don’t want to adopt older children because now kids are adopted following these new sentimentally defined conceptions of children. They’re adopting them for that emotional value, and not for any kind of economic contribution."

It's 2014: Why Are Men Still Paying for First Dates? - "in the early stages of courting, the pressure to pay falls primarily on men, but this imbalance hardly dissolves as the relationship progresses. Fifty-six percent of men foot the bill in full once they’re in an established relationship, and, even further down the line, 36 percent of men pay all of household bills, versus 14 percent of women. There’s not much in the way of historical data on the question of who pays for dates, but the findings of a 1985 poll suggest that very little has changed in the past 30 years... he and his co-authors called paying for dates “a rare case” in which women are incentivized not to fight old-school gender dynamics. This same logic might explain why men who are okay stepping down as breadwinners aren’t as eager to step up to the demands of parenting and homemaking. (The scope of Frederick’s study was wider than NerdWallet’s too, and, interestingly, 39 percent of its female respondents admitted that they hoped men would reject their offers to help pay)... A 1985 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly presented subjects with a variety of fictional dating scenarios—mixing up who invited whom, who paid, and the venue—and asked them to evaluate the acceptability of the sexual encounter that followed. Disturbingly, they found that money contorted men’s opinions of sexual consent. “Rape was rated as more justifiable,” the authors wrote, “when the man paid all the dating expenses rather than splitting the costs with the woman.” Culturally speaking, 1985 may seem distant, but the study's conclusion apparently hasn’t become any less relevant (or urgent): A more recent study, from 2010, found that men were more likely than women to think that sex should be expected when a man pays for an expensive date."

Girl hanged herself after allergic reaction to Wi-Fi

A woman has been awarded compensation for being "allergic to Wi-Fi" - "A 39-year-old French woman named Martine Richard has won a court case that means that government will need to pay her roughly US$900 a month in disability allowance for at least three years, because of the discomfort caused by her alleged Wi-Fi allergy. Richard claims that she had to quit her job and is confined to a rural barn without electricity because she's so sensitive to electromagnetic waves. Although there are many people who have reported Wi-Fi allergy - or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) - in the past, she's the first to be officially recognised and compensated for the condition, despite the fact that science says it doesn't exist... It sort of reminds us of wind turbine syndrome, another alleged condition with no scientific backing that claims technological advances are making people sick. Even worse, this court ruling means that we're never going to find out what's really causing the symptoms experienced by Richard and all the other sufferers out there, so we'll never have the opportunity to give them the help and treatment that they really need."

Canada woman faces 10 years in prison for giving pigs water on hot day - "A video of the incident shows the driver, identified in court documents as Jeffery Veldjesgraaf, climbing from the vehicle to confront Krajnc.
“Jesus said, if they are thirsty, give them water,” she tells him.
Veldjesgraaf responds: “You know what, these are not humans you dumb frickin’ broad.”
He threatens to call the police and then asks: “What you got in that water?”
When she replies that it is just water, he says: “How do I know?”"

Do Political Preferences Change? A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Supreme Court Justices - "Do the political preferences of U.S. Supreme Court justices change over time? Judicial specialists are virtually unanimous in their response: The occasional anomaly notwithstanding, most jurists evince consistent voting behavior over the course of their careers. Still, for all the research that presupposes the consistency of preferences, it is startling to find that scholars have yet to explore rigorously the assumption of stability. We fill this gap by describing the behavioral patterns of the 16 justices who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court for 10 or more terms, and began and completed their service sometime between the 1937 and 1993 terms. The data reveal that many experienced significant change over time—a result with important implications for virtually all longitudinal work on the Court."
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