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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Links - 21st February 2016

Firefox Add-on Signing criticized for being ineffective - "Add-ons that are not hosted on Mozilla's official add-on store need to be submitted whenever they are updated, and they are signed if they pass automatic inspection, or need to be submitted for manual review if they don't pass the automatic test. These reviews take up to seven weeks for preliminary reviews which means that a new version of Zotero could not be released while still under review, and that is not only problematic because of the time between submitting a release and getting it signed, but also because it makes it impossible for the developer to react quickly when time is of the essence (think security or stability fix). If that would not be bad enough, Stillman points out that the AMO validator script is not effective as it can be bypassed easily. What this means? Malicious add-ons will be signed if they pass the automatic validation, and since they are not reviewed in this case by Mozilla employees or volunteers, can be offered on third-party websites or via software installers, and will install just fine in release Firefox or beta Firefox. A quick proof of concept add-on was created to proof the point... Mozilla's response? According to Stillman, Mozilla's Add-ons Developer Relations Lead stated that "most malware authors are lazy" and that the scanner would "block the majority of malware"."

Too many people have peed in the pool - "let us grieve at what twitter has become. A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know. It’s as nasty and unwholesome a characteristic as can be imagined. It doesn’t matter whether they think they’re defending women, men, transgender people, Muslims, humanists … the ghastliness is absolutely the same. It makes sensible people want to take an absolutely opposite point of view. I’ve heard people shriek their secularism in such a way as to make me want instantly to become an evangelical Christian... just one turd in a reservoir is enough to persuade one not to drink from it. 99.9% of the water may be excrement free, but that doesn’t help... I don’t feel anything today other than massive relief, like a boulder rolling off my chest. I am free, free at last"

The intolerant student Left has even turned on me – a lifelong civil rights campaigner - Telegraph - "Student leader Fran Cowling has denounced me as racist and transphobic, even though I’ve supported every anti-racist and pro-transgender campaign during my 49 years of human rights work. Fran is the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Officer of the National Union of Students (NUS). She refused to speak at an LGBT event at Canterbury Christ Church University tonight unless I was dropped from the line-up. This is a variation of the NUS “no-platform” policy; instead of blocking me from speaking, Fran is refusing to share a platform with me... When asked to provide evidence of my supposed racism and transphobia, she was not willing to do so. There is none. Privately I tried to get her to withdraw her outrageous, libellous allegations. But she spurned all my attempts to resolve this matter amicably. As a result I have decided to take my case public... This sorry, sad saga is symptomatic of the decline of free and open debate on some university campuses. There is a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere. Allegations are made without evidence to back them – or worse, they are made citing false, trumped-up evidence. Disappointingly, Fran and the entire NUS leadership have turned down media requests to be interviewed and to debate the issues involved. This looks and feels cowardly. When challenged, they run, hide and denounce from the “safe space” of their laptops. This is the antithesis of the free and open inquiry that is supposed to be the hallmark of university learning and culture... Anyone who doesn’t toe the line politically risks being denounced, even over the tiniest disagreement. The race to be more Left-wing and politically correct than anyone else is resulting in an intimidating, excluding atmosphere on campuses. Universal human rights and enlightenment values – including John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty – are often shamefully rubbished as the ideas of Western imperialist white privilege."
Will Peter Tatchell be dismissed as deluded? Or Privileged? And will these liberals be dismissed (once again) as part of a small and unrepresentative minority?

Why Are Feminists Ignoring The Violent Gang Rape Of Porn Star Cytherea? - "Feminists won’t address Cytherea’s rape because her story destroys their entire narrative. For the past decade, SJWs have been developing a false conception of rape that has become so ingrained in the minds of Americans that it’s now influencing government policy. Acknowledging what happened to Cytherea would ruin their con game. One look at the race of Cytherea’s alleged rapists and you can see a big reason why the left won’t touch the story. The media is constantly on the lookout for what Tom Wolfe calls the “Great White Defendant,” a criminal case featuring a white man who is utterly guilty of victimizing a woman or a racial minority... Feminists are also ignoring Cytherea’s rape because of the class factor... feminists don’t care about rape victims, and they never have. The “rape culture” narrative is driven not by a genuine concern for women who’ve been sexually assaulted, but by the neurotic fear young American women have of men and masculinity. “Rape culture” hysterics are driven purely by the narcissism and social retardation of the Millennial generation."

Rape Culture is a ‘Panic Where Paranoia, Censorship, and False Accusations Flourish’ - "today’s rape culture movement bears some striking similarities to a panic that gripped daycare centers in the 1980s... From the start of the scare in 1983 until its ending in the mid-1990s, untold numbers of children were subject to manipulative therapies and hundreds of innocent adults faced charges of ritual child abuse. Several of the accused would spend years in prison for crimes that never happened. A recent Slate article called it “one of the most damaging moral panics in America’s history,” which only began to abate when skeptical journalists got round to checking facts and asking questions... Reputable studies suggest that approximately one-in-forty college women are victims of rape or sexual assault (assault includes verbal threats as well as unwanted sexual grabbing and fondling). One-in-forty is still too many women. But it hardly constitutes a “rape culture” requiring White House intervention. Once again, conspiracy feminists are at the forefront of this movement. Just as feminist psychologists persuaded children that they had been abused, so women’s activists have persuaded many young women that what they might have dismissed as a foolish drunken hookup was actually a felony rape. “Believe the children,” said the ritual abuse experts during the day care scare. “Believe the survivors,” say today’s rape culturalists. To not believe an alleged victim is to risk being called a rape apologist... E.M. Forster said it best in A Passage to India, referring to a panic among “good citizens” following a highly dubious accusation of rape: “Pity, wrath, and heroism filled them, but the power of putting two and two together was annihilated.”"

New study finds that women who are not considered attractive receive lower grades - "among similarly qualified female students -- those who are physically attractive earn better grades than others. For male students, there is no significant relationship between attractiveness and grades. And the results hold true whether the faculty member is a man or a woman."
Comments: "Another possible explanation is that attractive women have an easier time getting assistance from classmates, and that when they do group projects in face-to-face classes there are different dynamics that affect their grades."
"this appears to be a single-center study over a limited period of time. To further complicate the issue, the difference was a mere 0.024 on a 4.0 scale... a statistical difference perhaps, but a functionally meaningless difference. Put it all together and you get a frozen TV dinner.... looks appealing on the outside, but once you open it up, it's nothing to get excited about."
"Female students generally considered attractive also generally are more outspoken in class and/or they are also more likely to approach the professor after class with questions or come to office hours for help on an assignment"
"Maybe standardized tests aren't so bad after all... It is not hard to imagine that an attractive young woman in a college computer lab might get more attention from a young male TA than the rest of the students (including the men) in the lab. Nobody's being punished -- but one demographic may be favored"

Singapore’s New National Gallery Dubiously Rewrites Southeast Asian Art History - "But by offering a watered-down version of Southeast Asia’s extraordinary history, this world-class institution short-changes the viewer. Here was a possibility to show how the region grappled with its colonial past, post-colonial legacies, regional consequences of global Cold War politics, and a slew of oppressive regimes in fast growing economies; to show how artists critiqued power, divisive ethnic politics, religious extremism and its ties to new-forming nationalistic identities in original, expressive languages — not merely reacting to urban, economic, and political shifts, but actively contesting them. On the whole, the museum’s curatorial prerogative does not appear to interrogate the past in any analytical manner. How could the history and memory of communist influences on Southeast Asia and its artists be so brazenly negated?"
Just because you don't push an aggressively post-colonial agenda doesn't mean that you are doing something wrong
Comment: "Maybe it was about art, not politics."

Baby Photos Might Get Your Lost Wallet Returned

Conservatives' social media diet more balanced than liberals' - "A review of data in a new study by StatSocial indicates conservatives on Twitter are more likely to follow liberal partisans and reporters at left-of-center news organizations than their counterparts on the Left are to follow right-leaning figures. "People on the Left are more insular," Michael Hussey, the analytics group's CEO, told the Washington Examiner media desk. "They're less interested in others' opinions. If that's what the data is showing, than I think that case can be made"... left-leaning Twitter users not only outnumber conservatives, but that they are also interested in hearing only from like-minded media figures, while right-leaning users hear from both sides."

It is actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home - "In Colorado, other people’s water rights even extend to the raindrops that fall onto your roof."

Changi Business Park or 'Changalore'? - "AT 10am on Monday, we stood outside Citibank’s front door at its Changi Business Park building to watch people go by. Of the 113 people who walked out, 78 looked like Indians; that’s seven for every 10 people who exited the building. We don’t know if they are foreigners or locals, but the Indian community definitely made its presence felt. On the shuttle bus which connects Yishun to Changi Business Park, we did a count as well. Out of 32 passengers, nine were Indians. And we did a quick count at the nearest MRT station, Expo. Out of 145 people, 50 were Indians... Minister of Manpower Mr Lim Swee Say identified Changi Business Park as a place where the firms’ employment practices bear closer scrutiny... he named Changi Business Park, or “Changalore Business Park”, using the name that has been tagged to the place because it resembled Bangalore, the city known as the Silicon Valley of India... Out of around 300 complaints received by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) last year, half dealt with discrimination based on nationality – these stemmed mostly from the banking and IT sectors"

Are there some animals that have stopped evolving? - "The truth is, there is literally no such thing as a "living fossil". All species evolve, even if it's not obvious."

Gender Differences in Automatic In-Group Bias: Why Do Women Like Women More Than Men Like Men? - "Four experiments confirmed that women's automatic in-group bias is remarkably stronger than men's and investigated explanations for this sex difference, derived from potential sources of implicit attitudes (L. A. Rudman, 2004). In Experiment 1, only women (not men) showed cognitive balance among in-group bias, identity, and self-esteem (A. G. Greenwald et al., 2002), revealing that men lack a mechanism that bolsters automatic own group preference. Experiments 2 and 3 found pro-female bias to the extent that participants automatically favored their mothers over their fathers or associated male gender with violence, suggesting that maternal bonding and male intimidation influence gender attitudes. Experiment 4 showed that for sexually experienced men, the more positive their attitude was toward sex, the more they implicitly favored women"
Addendum: From APA writeup: ""A clear pattern shown in all four studies is that men do not like themselves automatically as much as women like themselves," Rudman says. "This contradicts a lot of theoretical thinking about implicit attitudes regarding status differences." More specifically, men are historically and cross-culturally viewed as the dominant sex, so it might logically follow that they'd have a greater in-group bias, Rudman says."
Patriarchy means that men like women and women like women, but nobody likes men

Study Finds That Men Like Nice Women, But Not the Other Way Around - "men who perceived possible female partners as responsive found them to be “more feminine and more attractive.” Past research suggests that physical cues of femininity stimulate sexual attraction because they suggest higher estrogen levels, better overall mate quality and solid reproductive health. On the other hand, women didn’t necessarily perceive a responsive man as less masculine, but they also did not find a responsive man more attractive. What’s more, when women perceived their male partner to be responsive, they were less attracted to the man. In other words, it appeared that in an initial encounter men liked nice ladies; women thought nice guys were kind of lame... “Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons," said Birnbaum in a press release. "Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing. Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant.”"
Paper: "Why Do Men Prefer Nice Women? Gender Typicality Mediates the Effect of Responsiveness on Perceived Attractiveness in Initial Acquaintanceships "

Warning: If you upset today's ferocious online feminists, prepare for a flood of abuse – Telegraph Blogs
Oddly, the writer is saying that this is a good thing.

Van de 1490 'minderjarige' asielaanvragers waar in 2015 een botscan bij gebeurde, bleek 70% toch meerderjarig -
According to this article, of 1,490 asylum speakers who were "minors" where there were doubts about their age, 70% were actually adults who were lying to get more assistance

star wars ring theory | Mike Klimo - "why would the opening of Episode I reflect the opening of Episode VI (and at such an incredible level of detail, no less)? It definitely doesn’t feel like the usual, run-of-the-mill fanservice that’s so common in movies nowadays. Nor does it feel like a traditional framing device, since the beginning of Menace reflects the beginning, rather than the end, of Jedi... the sense of repeating cycles is not only personal, but also political as the films, taken as a whole, reflect the perpetual rise and fall of democracies (the Republic) and dictatorships (the Empire)... Consider Mike Stoklasa unimpressed: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”... the six Star Wars films together form a highly structured ring composition. The scheme is so carefully worked out by Lucas, so intricately organized, that it unifies the films with a common universal structure (or what film scholar David Bordwell might call a “new formal strategy”), creating a sense of overall balance and symmetry."
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