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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Links - 8th March 2016

5 myths about Trump supporters - "Many conservatives love Trump, but they’re not alone — and his appeal spans ideologies in ways his rivals can’t match. Cruz’s support tanks among self-identified moderates, and Rubio struggles for a significant foothold among those who self-identify as very conservative, but Trump’s share of the vote has so far been fairly consistent across ideological boundaries in the exit polls, a result that’s consistent with a host of pre-primary media surveys and other polls this year... Trump’s supporters are not only untroubled by his smattering of moderate-to-liberal policy positions — many of his backers share them. Take abortion: Private surveys for other 2016 presidential campaigns (shown to POLITICO on condition that the campaigns wouldn’t be identified) have shown Trump running stronger than his average among Republicans who support abortion rights... Trump’s support rose as groups of voters grew more favorable toward labor unions and raising taxes on the wealthy, positions way out of step with Republican orthodoxy but more in keeping with Trump himself... Trump has yet to fall below 24 percent support from women in a single state, according to those surveys, and he has climbed above 30 percent support in many of them. Simply put, Trump would not have been able to get this far in the GOP presidential race — 10 state wins and hundreds of delegates — without significant support from female Republican voters."

Cross Island Line could save commuters 40 minutes: LTA chief - "Some Singaporeans have even questioned the need for the line in the first place... “half of the 30-over stations have connections to other lines. This creates many more travel options for commuters. And it will help redistribute load in the other lines, generally giving better comfort to all commuters. At the same time, during disruptions, you have alternative travel options, enhancing the resilience of the entire network”... what was currently missing was a systematic cost-benefit analysis of the two options. “We are not seeing a cost-benefit analysis being done. What we are hearing is how much additional cost it would take. This is cost effectiveness, not cost benefit; in other words, the cheapest way,” said Professor Quah, head of economics at the Nanyang Technological University... In terms of the more tangible benefits, for instance, going directly across the nature reserve would mean savings in travel time and the cost of land acquisition. Skirting it could mean the ability to pick up more passengers and spur more business activity in affected areas, noted Prof Quah... Transport analyst Lee Der Horng, of the National University of Singapore’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, also noted that the longer alignment would see “more curvatures” that could mean “more wear and tear”, leading to higher costs of train maintenance in the future. But the intangibles – such as the loss to nature - are just as important in a cost-benefit study, said Prof Quah. A dollar value should be put to items such as flora, fauna, biodiversity and water contamination. “We have to know what is the magnitude and the probability of (such damage) happening; and then we can compute what would be the impact cost on society,” he said. How to assign a value? Find out how much people would be willing to pay to avoid crossing the central catchment area – such as through a survey about increasing the price of an MRT ride, suggested Prof Quah. It is not the final answer that is important, he said, but the process of making people think about what trade-off they will accept between economic development and environmental conservation. But MacRitchie advocate Mr Tan said: “You cannot always put a dollar value on everything"... LTA’s Mr Chew reiterated that if it’s decided to take the direct route across the forest, there would be no structures, including ventilation shafts, on the surface. As for the construction, he emphasised: “We are only going to launch and recover the tunnel boring machine well outside the central nature reserve. We are not going to have a situation where trucks and vehicle movement are within the nature reserve - at all. We’re not going to do that”... "the overarching worry is, what is the likelihood of failure? Whether a vehicle accidentally tramples or knocks into something … What happens if mitigation measures fail? Will the damage be irrecoverable? Very likely so. And if it fails, who will take accountability?”"
This is Singapore's Greenies' version of Pascal's Wager; if the calculations are wrong and the Large Hadron Collider creates a black hole that could destroy the Earth, we're all doomed. SHUT DOWN THE LHC

Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen 2012 - YouTube - "It is no secret that the video game industry boasts some of the most sexually objectified, stereotyped and downright oppressive portrayals of women in any medium"
To liberals, free speech is oppressive

Anita Sarkeesian Wants To Have Cake And Eat Men, Too - "Feminist agitator and self-proclaimed video game critic Anita Sarkeesian has had a bad few weeks. Her most recent video, “Women as Reward,” attracted nowhere near the amount of fanfare previous outings did, her censorious comments regarding the “Doom” franchise got her roundly mocked, and now she’s at the center of the slow-motion train crash that is the United Nations Cyberviolence Report. Even her collaborator on said report, Zoe Quinn, has disowned it, while Sarkeesian has stayed suspiciously silent. All in all, it seems the old girl has lost a bit of her edge at attracting fawning press coverage for her supposed bravery and cogency. That’s a victory for truth, at least, because Sarkeesian is neither brave nor cogent. Her “bravery” largely consists of telling off anonymous Twitter trolls and hyperventilating over specious bomb threats even after law enforcement has dismissed those threats. As for “cogency,” Sarkeesian’s videos are less arguments than extended logical fallacies. As I detailed in a previous lengthy series on this topic, Sarkeesian poisons the well so often that cholera bacteria would tell her to slow down, and she seems to think begging the question is an Olympic sport. That’s not even touching her numerous errors of fact and interpretation... Sarkeesian’s desired world is one where women face no expectations of any kind, nor any possible consequences for their choices... If a woman wants to lead a man on, Sarkeesian seems to say that’s her prerogative. If a woman wants to laugh in the face of a rescuer and call him a loser, Sarkeesian seems to say that’s her prerogative. No matter their actions (in video games, at least), women should be free from the threat of harm or consequences of any kind."
Isn't facing "no expectations of any kind, nor any possible consequences for their choices" a good summary of feminism?

Feminist Frequency‘How to be a Feminist’ Panel at All About Women « - "Unfortunately many contemporary discourses in and around feminism tend to emphasize a form of hyper individualism (informed by the neoliberal worldview)... Choice feminism posits that each individual woman determines what is empowering for herself, which might sound good on the surface but this concept risks obscuring the bigger picture and larger, fundamental goals of the movement by focusing on individual women and a very narrow, individual notion of “empowerment”. It erases the reality that some choices that women make have an enormous negative impact on other women’s lives. It is not enough to feel personally empowered or be personally successful within the oppressive framework of the current system. Even if an individual woman can make patriarchy work for her, it’s still a losing game for the rest of the women on this planet. The fact of the matter is that some choices have ramifications beyond ourselves and reinforce harmful patriarchal ideas about women as a group and about women’s bodies in our wider shared culture. And because of how systems of oppression intersect and compound one another, it’s women of color, indigenous women, women living in the global south, women with disabilities, queer women, and transwomen who bare the brunt of those ramifications. “Choice feminism” also obscures the fact that women don’t have a real choice. We have a very narrow set of predetermined choices within patriarchy. Women can choose from a pre-approved palette, but we cannot meaningfully choose liberation, we cannot choose a way out from our constraints, at least not without ending those oppressive systems that limit our options. So when we talk about free choice in today’s world, we’re really talking about a very narrow spectrum of choices that are amenable to patriarchy... We are all connected, we are bond together under the oppression of patriarchy and as such our personal actions or inactions do have a harmful effect on other women, especially those from the most marginalized communities"
Basically women, like children, don't know what's good for them, so they must be forced to make the "correct" choices. Freedom is Slavery

Anita Sarkeesian Makes it Clear: Feminism is About Collectivism, Free Choice Be Damned - "women only choose to have kids because they lack access to abortions? How dismissive of individual women can you possibly be? Of course Anita just said feminism is not about the individual, so it only stands to reason that her attitudes about the personal decisions women make would be dismissive. But this comic is downright abhorrent. Look at how it treats homemakers and working women. It’s mind-boggling."

Planet Blue Coat: Mapping Global Censorship and Surveillance Tools - "Blue Coat Devices capable of filtering, censorship, and surveillance are being used around the world. During several weeks of scanning and validation that ended in January 2013, we uncovered 61 Blue Coat ProxySG devices and 316 Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances, devices with specific functionality permitting filtering, censorship, and surveillance. 61 of these Blue Coat appliances are on public or government networks in countries with a history of concerns over human rights, surveillance, and censorship (11 ProxySG and 50 PacketShaper appliances). We found these appliances in the following locations:
- Blue Coat ProxySG: Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE.
- PacketShaper: Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela."

Video: I Dared Two Elite Hackers to Ruin My Life - "after reporting on the hacks of Sony Pictures, JPMorgan Chase, Ashley Madison, and other major companies, I got curious about what it felt like to be on the victim’s side of a data breach, in a time when so much of our lives is contained in these giant, fragile online containers. So I decided to stage an experiment that, in hindsight, sounds like a terrible idea: I invited two of the world’s most elite hackers (neither of whom I’d ever met) to spend two weeks hacking me as deeply and thoroughly as they could, using all of the tools at their disposal. My only conditions were that the hackers had to promise not to steal money or any other assets from me, reveal any of my private information, or do any harm to me, my data, or anyone else. And then, at the end of the hack, I wanted them to tell me what they found, delete any copies they’d made, and help me fix any security flaws or vulnerabilities I had... it didn’t matter how good my defenses were. Against a pair of world-class hackers, my feeble protections were about as useful as cardboard shields trying to stop a rocket launcher. For weeks, these hackers owned the hell out of me. They bypassed every defense I’d set up, broke into the most sensitive and private information I have, and turned my digital life inside out. And then, when they’d had enough, I met them at DefCon (the world’s biggest hacker convention, held in Las Vegas every year) and they told me exactly how bad the damage was... it’s not likely that I fit the profile of someone whose life an attacker would be interested in destroying. This principle is called “privacy through obscurity.” Basically, the idea is that although anyone can theoretically be hacked by anyone with enough skill and time on their hands, the vast majority of us simply aren’t interesting enough for hackers to care about. “Do you worry about trained martial artists beating you up on the street?” Marquis-Boire asked me. “Not particularly,” I responded. “But you’re aware that they exist,” he said. “You’re also aware that you probably couldn’t do anything about it if one of them wanted to beat you up in the street”... The real danger isn’t the trained martial artist attacking you; it’s the thief who notices that your car is unlocked and decides to help himself to some electronics... The goal of these tools isn’t to make yourself hack-proof; no app or service can do that. But using good security practices can deter hackers, or at least convince them to move on to an easier target."

Chess forbidden in Islam, rules Saudi mufti, but issue not black and white - "Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti has ruled that chess is forbidden in Islam, saying it encourages gambling and is a waste of time... Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s supreme Shia religious authority, has previously issued rulings forbidding chess... The region’s clerical establishment figures are no strangers to seemingly strange fatwas, or edicts. In the early 2000s, Saudi and other clerics issued a fatwa against the popular Pokémon franchise, and during football’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa, religious scholars in the United Arab Emirates said that using the widely reviled vuvuzela instrument was forbidden if the sound produced was above 100 decibels."

When gods were hauled into Indian courts - "In India, many devout Hindus have very intimate relationships with their gods and goddesses and, keeping that in mind, the Indian judicial system regards deities as legal beings. This means that there have also been instances where they have been hauled into court... A lawyer recently took one of Hinduism's most popular gods, Ram, to court for being "unjust to his wife Sita". Chandan Kumar Singh identifies as a practising Hindu, and says that although he worships Ram like millions of people in India and around the world, he cannot ignore the fact that Ram mistreated Sita... Gods cannot play the stock market, the high court in Mumbai ruled in 2010. The judges rejected a petition from a religious trust which wanted to open trading accounts in the names of five gods, including Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. The trust, owned by the former royal family of Sangli in the western state of Maharashtra, said the deities had savings bank accounts and income tax cards, but the judges were unmoved. Trading in shares on the stock market requires certain skills and expertise and the judges said that to expect this from deities would not be proper, adding that "gods and goddesses were meant to be worshipped, and not dragged into commercial activities like share trading"."

Eight women who decided to propose - "In a US survey by AP, nearly one in four people said they felt it was not acceptable for a woman to propose. And out of the respondents who were already married, only 5% said the woman was the one to propose... Throughout history it has been traditional for men to propose to women, but once every four years, on 29 February, women were "allowed" to propose to men"
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