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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Links - 1st October 2016

Should we always believe the victim? (Opinion) - "Pundit Glenn Reynolds recently wrote: "So as I understand it, Atticus Finch is now the bad guy in "To Kill A Mockingbird," because he doubted a story about rape." How right he was... Al Sharpton took a page out of the old South's playbook and brought us Tawana Brawley, who accused six white men of raping her. The story of white on black crime resonated, and it helped to promote a social justice agenda, but Tawana Brawley was no more a rape victim than two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama, who falsely accused nine black teenagers more than 80 years ago. What do these stories have in common? Someone had an agenda, and they knew that a rape story would put it on a rocket powered toboggan. And, therein lies the origin of today's "rape culture" frenzy... I don't know what Erdely's agenda was, but it wasn't responsible journalism. Responsible journalism is hard. It isn't public relations. A responsible journalist digs for the truth, she doesn't just take her subject's agenda and run with it. That isn't journalism, that's "gossip," and like all gossip, it doesn't do anything positive for anyone."

BBC accused of sexism over 'gendered' Great British Bake Off icing - "The BBC has been accused of sexism over the colour of icing given to men and women on the Great British Bake Off."
At least this shows that life is so good people have nothing better to do

Jeremy Corbyn called for ‘complete rehabilitation’ of Leon Trotsky in Parliament - "Jeremy Corbyn used his position in Parliament to call for the “complete rehabilitation” of Leon Trotsky, it has emerged despite dismissing concerns about hard-Left entryism as “nonsense”. In 1988, the Labour leader – then a backbencher – demanded the Marxist revolutionary and other communists have their achievements formally recognised by the Russian state"

No hard feelings | The Economist - "Reconciliation after competition is more a masculine than a feminine trait... MEN have a long history of fighting with one another for dominance, but why such duels did not leave tribal unity in tatters and warriors less capable of working together to fend off attacks from predators and hostile clans remains a mystery. One common theory is that men more readily make up after fierce physical conflicts than do women. And an experiment run recently at Harvard University, by Joyce Benenson and Richard Wrangham, and published in Current Biology, suggests this may be true... Boxing—the sport closest to real fighting—showed the greatest difference. Males made contact for 6.3 seconds after a bout. Females did so for 2.8 seconds... such male bonding may go back a long way into the evolutionary past: similar differences between the sexes in post-conflict reconciliation have been seen in chimpanzees. Whether that means women are leaving the field of battle with more of a grudge than that borne by menfolk is a question for another experiment"

Girl uses Fifty Shades of Grey as basis for false rape claims against her father - "Ms McCulloch said the prospects for the father initially looked bleak. “His daughter had given a compelling interview to the police and my client had absolutely no real defence other than ‘I did not do it’,” she wrote. The only unusual thing about the interview was that in describing what her father had supposedly done and how her body had allegedly felt, she had used “certain words, phrases and descriptions which seemed beyond her years”... Ms McCulloch, a former police officer who is now a barrister at Church Court Chambers, persuaded the judge to adjourn the case so she could spend an afternoon and an evening reading the novel. Within seven minutes of her beginning her cross-examination, the daughter burst into tears in the witness box and admitted she had made the whole thing up to teach her strict father a lesson."
When it's so easy to make a false rape accusation and almost make it stick...

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is film The Shallows fair to sharks? - "I remember standing in a cold Richmond high street about 8 years ago... we were trying to get people to give us the standard reaction to the word shark, i.e. horror, shock, blood in the water. And it was a real struggle. People were lecturing us on shark conservation. And I think we've got almost past the Jaws thing in many ways... If you go to the Kruger national park and you get out of the car and a lion eats you, then it's silly human got out of the car. The lion was just doing what lions do. If you reverse that and make it a shark, doing exactly the same thing on the beach that it patrols every day, that's the shark's fault...
[On Peter Benchley regretting writing Jaws] I've met an awful lot of people in the last 30 years since I've been involved with sharks who were actually inspired to follow their careers by seeing Jaws. And I'm talking about scientists and conservationists... I thought Jaws was highly entertaining"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Do Muslim women face employment discrimination in the UK? - "'Demos, the think tank, suggested recently nearly half of economically inactive Muslim women say that they are unable to work because they look after the home. Now that may be that they would, they like doing that. It may be culturally they feel forced to do that. But the point is, isn't it, the driving force of the not being in the labour market doesn't come from the government. Doesn't come from discrimination. Doesn't come from Islamophobia. It comes from them and their families'
'Erm, I don't think you can make sweeping statements like that because Muslim women are-'
'Are you saying that's not true?'
'I don't think it is true, because Muslim people come from many different backgrounds. Yes, there may be some who are not wanting to get into work for the reasons you say, but when you look at the facts and you look at the level of discrimination that... Muslim women are enduring when they go into employment situation, when they go in to interviews, I think that is very clear. I don't think, it's clearly not legal to be asking women in employment situatons when they plan to have children, what their caring responsibilities and indeed, whether or not they're willing to travel outside of their local community and this is all the evidence that we were getting, and while what you are saying might be true for a group of people, it's not the overwhelming evidence that we had'
Jedi mind trick!

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Black, White and Beethoven - "Let me start with a confession. Something even my closest friends are unaware of. But I happen to have an interest, sometimes even an enjoyment of classical music. I'm black and was raised in a northern working class city. I feel nervous even admitting to this interest, like a bit of a traitor to my race...
We put barriers in the way. If we were to say only some children could progress in maths, there would be an outcry. And yet, for some reason we still talk about music of any genre as if it's an added extra, a nice to have. My view is until we really buy into music is valuable for every child and the arts more generally for their intrinsic value and also what they offer to our communities, to our society. The creativity that's developed through taking part - until we actually value that as a society and say that's crucial and every child should have the same opportunity, we won't crack this"
Good luck giving everyone equal art opportunities on shrinking budgets

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Friday's business with Rob Young - "The internet actually has done very little to our business. In fact outdoor advertising has grown faster than any other traditional form of advertising: television, print or radio. And we're actually seeing around the world now a decline in online advertising as consumers find it more and more irritating... over 30% of consumers in the UK now use ad-blocking, and that's over 50% in the US. And that combined with a lot of the spurious data that is delivered around click rates which are often just delivered by robots. I think advertisers are falling out of love with the Internet...
5 years ago about 3% of our revenues in the UK came from digital advertising and that's now over 50% this year. So we've become a true digital medium. And what that means is instead of guys going out with buckets of pastes and putting the posters on the billboards, you can change your message at the touch of a button in real time. So for instance we've got advertising at the moment which is directly related to Olympic success. We've got weather related advertising so there's a ice cream brand on at the moment which as soon as the temperature goes over 20 degrees, the advertising for that ice lolly appears on the screens. So it's a much more dynamic medium and a much more immediate medium...
I think with Minority Report I would say just because you can do it doesn't mean it's a good idea. And the truth is that people are rightly very concerned about privacy, right concerned about misuse of data. We are a mass reach medium. The great thing about outdoor is you're reaching a big audience so we would never want to be that precisely targeted. But what we can do is know exactly what audience is reaching our advertising and therefore be better targeted"

Has no Olympic Games ever increased sports participation? - Full Fact - "The Independent is not alone in downplaying the 'legacy effect' that hosting the Games has on sports participation. Research Fellow at the University of Brighton and author Mark Perryman asserted the same when he released his recent book 'Why the Olympics Aren't Good For Us, And How They Can Be', although he limited the claim to covering "recent Olympics". Further back in time, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report in 2007 which examined the likely legacy that might be left by the 2012 Olympics. It bluntly asserted: "No host country has yet been able to demonstrate a direct benefit from the Olympic Games in the form of a lasting increase in participation.""
The evidence for London is similarly weak

Rio 2016: Does the Chinese public have a victim narrative? - "China's gymnasts were robbed, China's weightlifters were robbed, China's swimmers were robbed. The volleyball team only avoided being robbed by standing up to Swiss bullying (Yes that's a nation of 8 million bullying one of 1.4 billion, 175 times bigger)... According to one poll, more than 80% of the public think Rio's judges have a sinister bias against China. Only 16% believe other countries might equally be the victim of bad calls... But truly China's state media only have themselves to blame. If the Chinese public have an ineradicable victim narrative it is of their own creation... If rulings in international law are optional for the Chinese government then who can be surprised if the Chinese public applies the same principle to rulings in sport?"

20+ First-World Anarchist Who Don’t Give A Damn About Your Rules

India's New Parliament Has The Most Members Facing Criminal Charges In A Decade - "According to a recent analysis of 541 of the 543 lawmakers by India’s Association for Democratic Reforms, the country’s new parliament has 186 members (about 34 percent) facing criminal cases. The group’s previous reports show that the number has steadily risen since 2004... more of the candidates with criminal charges got elected (13 percent) than those with a clean record (5 percent). As elections get more expensive, candidates with criminal connections are attractive to political parties as they often have deep pockets, according to Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Vaishnav notes that voters in India sometimes prefer criminally-connected candidates who have a reputation for getting things done, offering protection, and using whatever means necessary to secure their community’s interests"

Someone is wrong on the Internet. That’s where I come in. - "The people who own clickbait sites are never held accountable for dealing in fear. They do, however, make quite a lot of money from advertising"

Flossing Isn't Backed by Science? - "The cost of conducting the sort of rigorous study that would produce evidence one way or the other would be prohibitive, Tomar told us, not to mention there would be some ethical issues inherent in telling a control group to never floss, even if they have food stuck in their teeth, and no good way of tracking whether or not they never actually do floss"

What does Muslim-owned mean? - The Middle Ground - " Imagine if the other religious groups started posting 100% Christian owned or 100% Hindu owned establishment stickers? Would that increase tensions, entrenching division?... The cost of halal certification (valid for a year) for food establishments, including training staff on halal requirements, range from $950 to over $1,600 depending on the size and type (hawker, bakery or restaurant) of eatery. This certifies that the ingredients they source, the preparation methods and kitchen are all halal. The halal scheme and rules of certification change for caterers and central kitchens though, you can see the overview here. And the certificate is only applicable to one outlet. That is, if you wish to open another outlet, you need to get another certificate... she uses the cheaper 100% Muslim Owned Establishment (MOE) tag issued by the Singapore Malay Chamber Of Commerce & Industry (SMCCI) to inspire confidence in her customers that while not halal certified, the owner is Muslim and hence more likely to adhere to halal standards... The Administration of Muslim Laws Act states that halal certification must be approved by Muis. Quite a fine balance for SMCCI, it seems to me. But it provides a cheaper alternative to the Muis certificate for cash-strapped businesses... I wonder if this indicates a lack of self confidence in religious knowledge. If you know the requirements of halal, sans certificate, the difference between “halal” and “Muslim-owned” should not matter. In fact, if a Muslim owner says his shop is halal, I would have more confidence in him – saying Muslim-owned just sounds like hedging to me. This insecurity may lead to an over-reliance on authority. Up north, there have been cases where people ask for halal… toilet bowls. In a Straits Times report in June this year, a director at Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Mr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said: “People ask for a halal toilet bowl because it comes into contact with humans. Same for plastic bags and packaging that have contact with food.” Should it not be common sense that faecal stained toilet bowls are equally unclean (hence haram) whether it plops from a pious imam or otherwise? Why is there a need to ask the authorities for halal toilet bowls?"
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