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Valar Qringaomis

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Links - 14th April 2016

The Truth About Gandhi - "The movie, which portrays Gandhi as utterly chaste, seems to have left out scenes from real life of the Indian leader's young female followers fighting amongst each other for the honor of sleeping naked with Gandhi and cuddling him in their arms. This was his way of testing his vow of abstinence in preparation for coming struggles which required moral fortitude. Nor is mention made of the daily enemas Gandhi gave the young girls, or the enemas and nude massages they gave him each day. While the movie accurately depicts Gandhi's successful organization of Indians in South Africa against the state's apartheid laws, it skirts a key issue: what about the Africans? It turns out Gandhi's concern with racial discrimination was limited to Indians--in fact, he offered to organize a brigade of Indians to help the English colonial rulers crush an African rebellion... When Gandhi's wife was stricken with pneumonia, British doctors told her husband that a shot of penicillin would heal her; nevertheless, Gandhi refused to have alien medicine injected into her body, and she died. Soon after, Gandhi caught malaria and, relenting from the standard applied to his wife, allowed doctors to save his life with quinine. He also allowed British doctors to perform an appendectomy on him, an alien operation if ever there was one. None of this made it to the screen... He also addressed a letter to the British people as a whole, counseling them to "Let them [the Nazis] take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your soul, nor your mind"... The real Gandhi mistreated his family. He wrote about his illiterate wife: "I simply cannot bear to look at Ba's face. The expression is often like that on the face of a meek cow and gives one the feeling as a cow occasionally does, that in her own dump manner she is saying something." He refused to educate his sons, ordered them as young men to abstain from sex, and disowned the eldest, Harilal, for warning to get married. His son eventuallty attacked Gandhi in print, converted to Islam, and died an alcoholic... If you want fairy-tale heroes, try Star Wars or something. Mahatma Gandhi turns out to have been made of flesh and blood after all"

Jeremy Corbyn and the nirvana fallacy - "Ideals are necessary, but so are plans, and the most admirable idealists are also cold-eyed realists. Abraham Lincoln didn’t think it was enough, as some of the abolitionists of the north did, merely to shame the slavery-supporting politicians of the south. He trimmed and hedged and compromised his way towards abolition. Martin Luther King was not the airy figure of myth, but a highly astute politician and campaigner who out-thought and out-manoeuvred his opponents. He had a dream, but he wasn’t content to live inside it. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect Jeremy Corbyn to disavow the nirvana fallacy; after all, he owes his current position to it. Many of those who voted for him find it almost impossible to grasp that the choice is not between an imperfect Labour government, and an ideal one, but between an imperfect Labour government, and a Tory one. They revile the Blair government, but don’t stop to think what the country would be like today if the Tories had won in 1997, and kept winning."

The Nirvana fallacy – logical fallacies - "The Nirvana fallacy is an attempt to compare a realistic solution with an idealized one, and dismissing or even discounting the realistic solution as a result of comparing to a “perfect world” or impossible standard. This reasoning ignores the fact that the solutions are often good enough to meet any reasonable standard. Furthermore, the fallacy often focuses on one single standard of an idea or thing without regards to the other qualities that may be important in evaluating that thing or idea. In addition, the Nirvana fallacy can lead someone to ignore an unbiased evaluation of a risk versus benefit analysis. One could focus on the risk, demanding that it be completely eliminated, even if the benefit far outweighed the cost."

Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds - "People's distrust of atheists is “deeply and culturally ingrained”, with even many atheists having an instinctual distrust of each other"

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS146 - Jesse Richardson on "The pros and cons of making fallacies famous" - "Jesse: probably the Fallacy Fallacy is one of my favorite fallacies to mention, only because it exposes the fact that, a common mistake a lot of people make with regard to fallacies is presuming that if someone has committed a fallacy, that their argument is therefore wrong, and their point is wrong, and everything they've ever said is probably wrong as well... What that does is it exposes the fact that logical coherence doesn't have any bearing on truth value. You can argue with something that is entirely true, using fallacious reasoning and terrible arguments, which is painful to watch, if you haven't already, with a person that's arguing. On the flip side, you can be arguing with perfect logical coherency, for something that is an entirely false conclusion. The coherence of an argument itself is what the fallacies deal with. The truth value is an entirely different proposition that goes into argumentation, more generally...
Julia: I'm thinking of one friend who learned all about Cognitive Biases, and now, it's hard to have a disagreement with her, because anything that you say that disagrees with her, she will say, "Oh. Well, but you're just biased, because ... " and then she has some reason for why you can't have an objective position on this issue, because it goes against your interest for whatever reason. It's really just become this “get out of evidence free” card, that she gets to wield whenever. And this is not a unique example.
Jesse: Yeah, no, totally. I think that it's, to a man with a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail."

Unfit to Teach - Useless Information - "Rose was overweight. Today this would not be a valid reason, but this was way back in 1931 when teachers were fired for the most absurd things like being too beautiful, having a child, smoking cigarettes, consuming an alcoholic beverage, or speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan. Rose stood 5-feet, two-inches tall and weighed 182 pounds (or about 157 cm and 83 kilograms). Under the board rules at the time, someone of her height needed to weigh under 150 pounds or 68 kilograms to receive a teaching certificate."

Wall | VK - "Ghost in the Shell
Motoko Kusanagi cosplay by Adelhaid"

The Ethics of Counterinsurgency - The New Atlantis - "Counterinsurgency warfare is not ethically different from conventional warfare. Insurgency warfare, by contrast, is fundamentally ethically different from conventional warfare. But while insurgency warfare is almost always unethical, counterinsurgency can be waged ethically... If you grant that there is something wrong when conventional combatants use civilians as shields to protect combatants or military advantage, or when they deliberately kill or terrorize civilians to do the same, then analogous actions would also be immoral and unethical in irregular warfare. This is why all insurgency warfare is ethically suspect: morally reprehensible hostage-shield tactics are an intrinsic and unavoidable part of insurgency warfare... What about counterinsurgency? The fundamental ethical question is no different today than when the theologian Paul Ramsey posed it forty years ago in a classic Vietnam-era essay: “How is it possible, if it is indeed possible, to mount a morally acceptable counterinsurgency operation?” Can a counterinsurgency effort “abide by the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate military objectives while insurgency deliberately does not”?"
Seeing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of insurgency and counterinsurgency explains the pattern of civilian casualties

Star Wars: The Force Awakens leaked screenplay clarifies the ending and loads more

A Multi-Billion Dollar Start-Up is Forced to Ban Sex in Stairwells

Mum aged 26 is asked for ID while buying U-rated Disney cartoon DVD for her daughter

'Hilarious' Spar advert for Easter opening times tries to be helpful - ends up sounding very sarcastic - "The advert features a list of the store's opening hours from Good Friday to Easter Monday - or, rather, their closing hours. You see, the Spar isn't actually open at all over the weekend. But an amused passer-by noticed the ironic placement of the chain's tag line, 'There for you'."

Tay: Microsoft issues apology over racist chatbot fiasco - "Tay was designed to learn from interactions it had with real people in Twitter. Seizing an opportunity, some users decided to feed it racist, offensive information."

Justin, les pensions et la science | Le Journal de Montréal - "L’âge pour bénéficier de la pension de vieillesse demeurera 65 ans. La hausse qui devait progressivement l’amener à 67 ans à partir de 2023 est annulée. Une autre mesure du gouvernement Harper que Justin Trudeau fait disparaître dans les premiers mois de son mandat. On dirait qu’il est obsédé par le besoin d’effacer toute trace de son prédécesseur. Autant il est normal pour un gouvernement d’opérer des changements, autant la destruction caricaturale de toutes les actions du gouvernement précédent devient puérile et suspecte... Personne n’avait pu accuser les conservateurs d’opportunisme pour cette décision-là. Il s’agit de l’une des plus impopulaires et des plus risquées politiquement pour un gouvernement. Cela en faisait en même temps l’un des gestes les plus courageux de l’ère Harper... Les libéraux de Justin Trudeau accusaient les conservateurs de négliger la science. Ils nous avaient promis d’écouter les scientifiques. Les actuaires? Les démographes? Les médecins? Dans ce cas-ci, j’ai la désagréable impression qu’ils ont surtout écouté les organisateurs politiques. Les aînés sont des électeurs importants."

My Journey From Straight to Gay: Choosing Authenticity - "In 2010 I began to feel that my sexuality was shifting. After a course of events that forced me to ask hard questions about myself and my life, I realized I was interested in men. My love for Ellen didn’t vanish, but now there was this curiosity. And more than curiosity, real interest.
Funny. I thought sexuality couldn't change

Asad Shah 'was killed by a fellow Muslim' after he posted Happy Easter message - "Asad Shah belonged to the Ahmadi Muslim community, which preaches love and tolerance. The sect, which has a huge missionary network spreading its values of non-violence, identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran. But it is regarded by orthodox Muslims as heretical because followers do not believe Mohammed was the final prophet sent to guide mankind. As a result, Ahmadi Muslims have been persecuted – particularly in ultra-conservative Pakistan."

Mexicans burn effigies of Trump in Easter ritual - "This country's artisans usually set fire to effigies of unpopular Mexican politicians in their “burning of Judas” ritual every Easter weekend. This year, the politician they love to hate the most is an American: Donald Trump... Two effigies of Trump were burned in Mexico City's Merced Balbuena barrio, including a figure almost 10 feet tall that didn’t entirely explode on the first attempt. Residents whistled in derision, cursed and ultimately cheered. “Burn you filthy dog!” screamed one onlooker. Other effigies included recently recaptured drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, President Enrique Peña Nieto, a devil branded with an Islamic State logo, Pope Francis and President Obama. “(Obama) really hasn’t done much for the region,” said artisan Leonardo Linares, who made the image of the president and whose family has been making and burning Judas figures for five generations."

Iraqi SWAT Wants Your Instagram Vote For ISIS Executions - "An Instagram account supposedly run by Iraqi Special Operation Forces soldiers (@iraqiswat) is allowing its social media followers to decide the fate of the ISIS captives they have captured in battle."

Noam Chomsky's first response to Sept. 11 - "A Quick Reaction: 'The September 11 attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people (no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind... Robert Fisk, whose direct knowledge and insight into affairs of the region is unmatched after many years of distinguished reporting. Describing "The wickedness and awesome cruelty of a crushed and humiliated people," he writes that "this is not the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days. It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia - paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally - hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps." And much more"
Addendum: Chomsky's reaction to 911, after 911, responsibility
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