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Monday, May 16, 2016

Links - 16th May 2016

Why having children is bad for your marriage - "On average, couples’ satisfaction with their marriage declines during the first years of marriage, and, if the decline is particularly steep, divorce may follow. The course of true love runs downhill. And that’s before you factor in what happens when it’s time to start buying a car seat and diapers... Comparing couples with and without children, researchers found that the rate of the decline in relationship satisfaction is nearly twice as steep for couples who have children than for childless couples. In the event that a pregnancy is unplanned, the parents experience even greater negative impacts on their relationship. The irony is that even as the marital satisfaction of new parents declines, the likelihood of them divorcing also declines. So, having children may make you miserable, but you’ll be miserable together. Worse still, this decrease in marital satisfaction probably leads to a change in general happiness, because the biggest predictor of overall life satisfaction is one’s satisfaction with their spouse. While the negative marital impact of becoming parents is familiar to fathers and mothers, it is especially insidious because so many young couples think that having children will bring them closer together or at least will not lead to marital distress. Yet, this belief, that having children will improve one’s marriage, is a tenacious and persistent myth among those who are young and in love... Even in same-sex couples, the arrival of children predicts less relationship satisfaction and sex. Beyond sexual intimacy, new parents tend to stop saying and doing the little things that please their spouses. Flirty texts are replaced with messages that read like a grocery receipt."

It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner - "on average, the effect of a new baby on a person's life in the first year is devastatingly bad — worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner... the larger the loss in well-being, the lower the likelihood of a second baby. The effect was especially strong in mothers and fathers who are older than age 30 and with higher education."

I desperately wanted kids. It didn’t happen. And I’m okay with that. - "My changed outlook followed my life’s circumstances pretty logically. A handful of “hims” wandered in and out of my life, but I never met one I wanted to raise kids with. I could have gone it alone, and I have great respect for women who choose that route, but the demands of daily journalism and a chronic migraine condition made raising a child solo seem too daunting. And then came an unexpected wrinkle: the challenging and draining, rewarding and gratifying task of taking care of my parents."

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance - The New York Times - "WE progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us... recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point... When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose... only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents). In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican. The scarcity of conservatives seems driven in part by discrimination... 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical... the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”... “I am the equivalent of someone who was gay in Mississippi in 1950,” a conservative professor is quoted as saying in “Passing on the Right,” a new book about right-wing faculty members by Jon A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. That’s a metaphor that conservative scholars often use, with talk of remaining in the closet early in one’s career and then “coming out” after receiving tenure. This bias on campuses creates liberal privilege. It’s also liberal poppycock that there aren’t smart conservatives or evangelicals. Richard Posner is a more-or-less conservative who is the most cited legal scholar of all time. With her experience and intellect, Condoleezza Rice would enhance any political science department. Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian and famed geneticist who has led the Human Genome Project and the National Institutes of Health. And if you’re saying that conservatives may be tolerable, but evangelical Christians aren’t — well, are you really saying you would have discriminated against the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.?"
If you were less likely to hire someone if he was Muslim... good luck to you
Addendum: "“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close""

Why parenting may not matter and why most social science research is probably wrong - "The methods of twin researchers have been around for decades and have been challenged, critiqued, refined, adjusted, and (perhaps most importantly) cross validated with other techniques that rely on different assumptions entirely. They work, and they work with impressive precision... The socialization of children certainly matters (remember, neither personality nor temperament is 100 percent heritable), but it is not the parents who are the primary “socializers”, that honor goes to the child’s peer group... consider an analogy shared with me by the psychologist Steven Pinker: dropping your iPhone from six floors up is guaranteed to ruin it—iPhones don’t bounce. The impending destruction awaiting your phone as it plummets toward the Earth is assured, and the fact that you played no part in designing or building your phone will not atone for your slippery fingers. The same analogy applies to parenting, in some respects. It is possible for parents to wreck something that they did not construct (i.e., their child’s healthy development, language growth, cognitive ability, etc.) if their parenting style is harsh enough. Hopefully it is evident that this type of “parenting” is not the topic at hand... The vast majority of research in the social sciences involves non-experimental observational research... Children who are spanked (not abused, but spanked) often experience a host of other problems in life, including psychological maladjustment and behavioral problems. In a study led by my colleague J.C. Barnes, we probed this issue in more detail and found some evidence suggesting that spanking increased the occurrence of overt bad behavior in children. We could have stopped there. Yet, we went one step further and attempted to inspect the genetic influences... much of the association between the two variables (spanking and behavior) was attributable to genetic effects that they had in common. The correlation between spanking and behavior appeared to reflect the presence of shared genetic influences cutting across both traits... we have spent decades churning out correlations and we have no idea whether the findings were polluted by unmeasured genetic factors. That’s frightening, especially since public policies have been built on some of these potentially illusory correlations. The standard way of doing business in the social sciences ignores genetic influences, and has for years...
I think it’s fitting to let Judith Rich Harris have the last word. Here is a short poem from The Nurture Assumption:
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth
To hear your child make such a fuss.
It isn’t fair—it’s not the truth—
He’s fucked up, yes, but not by us."
Almost all spanking studies are flawed because of omitted variable bias

The Secret Life of Sadiq Khan, London’s First Muslim Mayor - "These muddy campaigns were in fact a microcosm of the identity problems plaguing modern Europe. Is London’s new mayor an Islamist? This question drove a political pendulum swing to both extremes at the expense of a genuine conversation that really needs to be had... Nuance is the friend of truth... many Muslims, and those on the left, preferred to bury their heads in the sand, chastising anyone who dared to challenge Khan on his past Islamist relationships, as “racists.” See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. The Regressive Left’s overuse of the word racism on such matters is as unhelpful as the Populist Right’s overuse of the word “extremist.” It is as racist to ask these questions, and to have this conversation, as it was when Londoners questioned the white, non-Muslim former Labour mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, about his links to Islamists, or when the press question the white, non-Muslim Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the maverick white politician George Galloway over their ties to extremists... To imply that it is, and to hold Sadiq Khan to a lesser standard than his white colleagues merely because he is a brown Muslim, is the very bigotry of low expectations that fuels identity politics even further... Khan ingratiated himself in the London Islamist scene. In 2003, he appeared at a conference alongside Sajeel Abu Ibrahim, a member of that same banned al-Muhajiroun. Sajeel ran a camp in Pakistan that trained the 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan. Speaking there, too, was one Yasser al-Siri, who had been convicted in Egypt over a political assassination attempt that left a young girl dead. In 2004, Khan gave evidence to the House of Commons in his capacity as the chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s legal affairs committee. This is the same Muslim Council of Britain that chose to condole the recent Ahmedi murder victim in Glasgow, by declaring Ahmedis not Muslim. In his MCB capacity, Khan argued in Parliament that the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi “is not the extremist that he is painted as being.” This is Qaradawi who, among other things, authored a book called The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, in which he justifies wife beating and discusses whether homosexuals should be killed... Khan’s defence of such a prolific flirtation with Islamism is that he was a human-rights lawyer. However, most of these events were not attended in his capacity as a lawyer at all. One suspects he was simply trying to gain votes... in 2009 Khan used the racially divisive and derogatory term “Uncle Tom”—on Iranian State TV no less—to describe reforming liberal Muslims, who counter extremism"
Maajid Nawaz published this after the election, so no one can justifiably dismiss him as a Tory hack. But of course people still are

Norwegian Navy officer Lasse Matberg, who looks like a 'Viking' has Instagram swooning

Norway's male soldiers allowed ponytails - "The new rules follow complaints from a male officer that while female soldiers were allowed to keep their hair in a loose braid or ponytail, man with longer hair had to gather it into a knot or hair net... In a sense, the regulations are a return to an older tradition. A short ponytail or 'queue' was practically mandatory for military men across Europe until the early 19th century"
Even before 2013, male soldiers could keep long hair. Wow

Norwegian troops get unisex dorms - "Surprisingly though, the women so far report a cut in sexual harassment... In November, the forces announced that they would now serve soldiers vegetarian-only food one day a week in an effort to combat climate change."

Girls in the army: Norway passes bill on mandatory military service for women - "Currently, women constitute just above 10 percent of military conscripts in Norway, serving in the armed forces on a volunteer basis. The initiative of compulsory military service for all citizens regardless of gender makes Norway the first European country to make such a decision in peacetime. Outside Europe, military service is mandatory for both men and women in Israel"

No to female conscription : International Alliance of Women - "Among the feminist organizations protesting against female conscription, were the Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights (Norsk Kvinnesaksforening, NKF, the Norwegian Section of the International Alliance of Women, IAW) and the Norwegian Section of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF... The Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights (NKF) considers female conscription as a misunderstanding of the concept of gender equality and the intentions of the Law on Equality. Gender equality implies first and foremost that women and men should have the same human rights and fundamental freedoms. Women should be valued and allocated power and resources on equal terms with men. But women and men do not have to be alike or do the same things to be equal. To ensure gender equality it is important in many cases that women and men are treated equally. But they should not necessarily be treated equally in all situations. In some cases, the underprivileged gender must be favoured to be able obtain similar results. Actual differences between the lives of women and men must be taken into account"
Unsurprisingly, the hypocritical feminists were against female conscription in Norway. No true feminist puts sugar in her porridge...
Comments on reddit: "I've never seen the whole "equal doesn't mean the same" nonsense used in any other context than in attempting to justify treating women better than men."
"Jim Crow Era America?"
"if it benefits a sex, it MUST benefit women, because EVERYTHING is about WOMEN. But no, women MUST be CEO's, but they sure shouldn't have to work in coal mines!"

Bored businessman makes ridiculous requests to hotel staff to pass the time - "clearly people who work in hospitality are a very congenial crowd"

Bad drivers are a good indicator of a corrupt government - "There are countries where police are powerless or unwilling to enforce the laws, and as a result drivers tend to ignore them"

Italian court rules food theft 'not a crime' if hungry - "Judges overturned a theft conviction against Roman Ostriakov after he stole cheese and sausages worth €4.07 (£3; $4.50) from a supermarket. Mr Ostriakov, a homeless man of Ukrainian background, had taken the food "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment", the court of cassation decided. Therefore it was not a crime, it said."
Establishments will be forced to spend more on security, which will raise prices to consumers, which will hurt the poor more

Only one in five Hong Kong job adverts cater to non-Chinese speakers or readers, research finds | South China Morning Post - "Chinese and English are the city’s official languages"
Portuguese is an official language of Macau, but good luck looking for a job if you don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese

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