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Friday, June 10, 2016

Links - 10th June 2016

Sanders helping Trump? - "At this point, Mr Sanders has essentially zero chance of becoming our next president. Meanwhile, there is a modest risk that continued Democratic warfare will cost Ms Clinton the election. The upshot is that continuing to tilt at windmills is many, many times more likely to elect Mr Trump than Mr Sanders. We’ve seen this before. In 1968, liberal disenchantment with the Democratic nominee, Mr Hubert Humphrey, assisted in the election of Richard Nixon. In 1980, Mr Edward Kennedy’s endless challenge to Mr Jimmy Carter undermined Mr Carter and probably gave Mr Ronald Reagan a lift. And in 2000, many liberals regarded Mr Al Gore the way some see Clinton today, as a flip-flopper short on inspiration and convictions. So a small number voted for a third-party candidate, Mr Ralph Nader, probably helping put Mr George W Bush in office... “Our struggle continues,” Mr Sanders said in a new fundraising email on Wednesday. Speaking in California on Tuesday evening, he did little to discourage his audience as it booed mention of Clinton. That’s just irresponsible. And now that Ms Clinton has won a majority of pledged delegates, it’s a violation of Mr Sanders’ own principles to try to get superdelegates to vote for him rather than for the people’s choice."

TODAY - No internet on public servants' work computers? Some in... - "Calling the move regressive, civil and public servants TODAY spoke to said cutting off Internet access in such a manner was also disruptive. “It’s like saying ‘your house could get burgled, but don’t spend money upgrading security features like cameras or locks; just move out’,” said one civil servant, who did not want to be named. Another civil servant who also wanted to remain anonymous said: “I feel like there are relatively simpler solutions but they just decided to use the nuclear option.” A public servant said that without Internet access on personal work computers, it would be unfair to expect public servants to have to pay for their own mobile data to carry out the work."
Many comments are bashing civil servants for surfing the internet at work. And these are posted during office hours.

Minority Wars: Why The Next Ten Years Will Set Everyone Against Everyone - "A white gay man is still a white man, which goes some way to explaining why their faces and voices are the ones that dominate all LGBT marketing and news, say an increasing number of disgruntled disabled black lesbians. There was recently a furore over the absolute invisibility of “people of colour” at Pride events, with some even accusing the gay community of white-washing the rainbow. Gay men are the masculine oppressors of the LGBT community. They, like the straight white men before them, will eventually be ejected from polite society. I predict a split occurring, with white gay men stripped of their LGBT status, relegated to “allies” and forced to forfeit all rights to their victim narrative. The new “LBT” community will be led by a mixed race non-binary pansexual who prefers the pronoun “xhlee.”"

Sweden: Gay march through mainly Muslim area of Stockholm called 'provocative' by anti-racist activists
Some minorities are more mior than others

NUS conference condemns drag and tells gay men to ‘stop acting like black women’ - "Motion 406, submitted by students from Birkbeck Students’ Union, calls for a “zero tolerance” approach to drag and cross-dressing at all student union events. It claims in part: “Transphobic fancy dress should be met with the same disdain with which we meet other prejudiced or appropriative costumes...A footnote to the motion clarifies that drag “as an expression or exploration of queer identity is to be encouraged”, and claims this can be “easily distinguished” from other forms – but does not detail how exactly this is compatible with a “zero tolerance” ban"

Pride event overturns ban on drag queens… but only if they’re trans - "Free Pride Glasgow – which was set up as an “anti-commercialist” alternative to the main Pride Glasgow event – made the controversial decision to ban drag performances ahead of the event next month, claiming that despite drag being a uniquely celebrated part of most Prides, drag performers would not be welcome to perform at Free Pride. A statement from the group claimed that drag acts make people questioning their gender uncomfortable, adding: “After much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event."

HuffPo Author Breaks Down in Tears After Realizing She is Less Oppressed than Others - "I felt like a sham — trying to engage in the fight for social justice and health equity despite not experiencing nearly as much struggle or pain as my peers. As a bi-racial African American and Native American female who grew up in a predominately white and largely affluent suburban community in the American south, I felt that the discrimination and injustices that I grew up combating would never compare to that of my peers"
Comments on the Huffington Post article: "social justice has created orwells nightmare..."
"Dear Lord, I've neve seen such self-indulgent tripe. You're golden love, stop whining about not being oppressed enough."
"It is a sign of the profound sickness of a political philosophy that it strives to make one ashamed of their good fortune; Ashamed to have a caring family, a loving mother and father. What kind of twisted soul dreamed up this hellish creed?"
"It'd be great if you learned your lesson from this. And that is, ALWAYS assume you may not be right. For example, your way to achieve social justice may be wrong. The perceived social injustice may not even exist"

What Everyone Should Know about Lab Tests - "A new study estimates that in the United States, some 251,000 deaths per year occur because of errors in medical care. This makes medical errors the third leading cause of death, only after heart disease and cancer. Though this is alarming and concerning, it highlights a much larger problem, as many medical errors aren't lethal. One proposal defines a medical error as "an act of omission or commission in planning or execution that contributes or could contribute to an unintended result." By this definition, failures in laboratory tests certainly qualify."

Go big or go home - if you want to be Ivory Coast beauty - "SOME like creams, others pop pills or splash out on padded panties. In Ivory Coast where "big is beautiful", bottom enhancers come in all shapes and sorts, and at any cost. Emaciated catwalk queens are no role model in this West African nation. "You need to have good hips to be dubbed a beauty in Ivory Coast," said a saleswoman named Sarah. Round is beautiful as it symbolises wealth and health, said political scientist Jean Alabro. It also heralds "happy pregnancies"... Another technique involves consuming Maggi instant broth cubes, a staple of African cuisine, but as a suppository rather than as food. "Women think it will add volume because it's greasy""

Karl Popper on democracy: From the archives: the open society and its enemies revisited | The Economist - "When we say that the best solution known to us is a constitution that allows a majority vote to dismiss the government, then we do not say the majority vote will always be right. We do not even say that it will usually be right. We say only that this very imperfect procedure is the best so far invented. Winston Churchill once said, jokingly, that democracy is the worst form of government—with the exception of all other known forms of government. And this is the point: anybody who has ever lived under another form of government—that is, under a dictatorship which cannot be removed without bloodshed—will know that a democracy, imperfect though it is, is worth fighting for and, I believe, worth dying for... there are only two alternatives known to us: either a dictatorship or some form of democracy. And we do not base our choice on the goodness of democracy, which may be doubtful, but solely on the evilness of a dictatorship, which is certain. Not only because the dictator is bound to make bad use of his power, but because a dictator, even if he were benevolent, would rob all others of their responsibility, and thus of their human rights and duties. This is a sufficient basis for deciding in favour of democracy—that is, a rule of law that enables us to get rid of the government. No majority, however large, ought to be qualified to abandon this rule of law... a two-party system is likely to be more flexible than a multi-party system, contrary to first impressions"

This smart suitcase literally follows you around so you'll never have to drag or carry a bag again

The Word “Heroic” Has Very Little Meaning In Modern Times - "There is nothing brave about doing what the doctor tells you to. Yes, it’s painful to endure chemo, but it’s a survival action in the same way that a rabbit chews off its leg when caught in a trap. You just plug in the cord and suffer. Furthermore, labeling cancer survivors heroic implicitly labels those who died as cowardly. My grandmother wouldn’t have survived cancer no matter how hard she fought. Sometimes, life’s a bitch, and you do the best you can... be wary of the word “heroic.” It no longer means anything. Raising children all alone is in no way equivalent to risking your life to save a friend. If a word denoting excess is applied to the masses, then it is no longer a word of excess. By calling all unwed mothers or all cancer survivors heroic, they have made it so none of them can truly be so"

Defending the ‘Dark Ages’ - "It is in describing the violent culture of the fifth and sixth centuries, combined with the obscurity of the politics of the period, that the term ‘Dark Ages’ has both meaning and resonance. When states collapse, the process is usually obscured by the confusion that surrounds that violence. Therefore the term is useful for those of us who need to explain to the public what happened when the Roman Empire crumbled."

Section 298 contradicts Singapore's secularism, says Muslim group - "A group of moderate Muslims in Singapore have come forward to critique the law under which teen blogger Amos Yee is being investigated, saying that it contradicts the principle of secularism in Singapore. Singapore Muslims for Secular Democracy (SM4SD) wrote in a statement that Section 298 of Singapore's Penal Code, which covers actions done "with deliberate intent to wound the religious or racial feelings of any person", curbs freedoms in Singapore. "Section 298 trades freedom for peace. Freedom of thought and expression – including the freedom to criticise ideas and the choice to be free of superstitions – is exchanged for social harmony in Singapore," said the group. "From a purely secular perspective: religion and therefore, religious feelings, should not be part of the affairs of the state and civil law""
This assumes that the law is meant to protect religious feelings - when really it's to prevent Singapore from collpasing due to race riots

Sex, coffee: Triggers that might rupture brain aneurysms - "researchers found that eight activities appeared to make a rupture more likely:
-Drinking coffee
-Drinking soda
-Blowing your nose
-Straining on the toilet
-Being startled
-Getting angry
-Having sex
The common factor? All produced sudden, short increases in blood pressure."

Harms of cutting defence spending overstated - "A nation's defence policy should be based on a level-headed assessment of the threats it might face... It is deeply perplexing to see the continued existential panic and fearmongering over Singapore's vulnerability... It is largely accepted that militant forces and home-grown terrorism pose the greatest danger to Singapore's national security. In such a case, aggressive spending on a conventional armed force is woefully ineffective. For instance, the very well-funded and well-equipped United States army floundered against the asymmetric tactics of militants in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead, defence spending should be channelled towards creating a leaner and more nimble fighting force, one that is more adept at counter-terrorist operations and urban warfare, rather than antiquated models of total war, not to mention, being more cost-efficient overall. Pursuant to this, Singapore should refrain from acquiring expensive and flashy new armaments with questionable effectiveness in this operational context. For example, many have pointed out the crippling performance deficiencies of the F-35 fighter jet, such that even the US is reassessing the viability of the programme."

The Effect of Non-Stunned and Stunned Halal Slaughter Method on Broiler Breast Meat Quality - "Texture analysis revealed that cooked samples of stunned meat was significantly tougher than cooked samples of non-stunned meat (p<0.05). This correlated with sensory analysis where the non-stunned meat was preferred on overall."
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