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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Links - 7th December 2016

Defending the Electoral College. - "There are five reasons for retaining the Electoral College despite its lack of democratic pedigree; all are practical reasons, not liberal or conservative reasons.
1) Certainty of Outcome
2) Everyone’s President
3) Swing States
4) Big States
5) Avoid Run-Off Elections...
Against these reasons to retain the Electoral College the argument that it is undemocratic falls flat. No form of representative democracy, as distinct from direct democracy, is or aspires to be perfectly democratic. Certainly not our federal government. In the entire executive and judicial branches, only two officials are elected—the president and vice president. All the rest are appointed—federal Article III judges for life."

The Electoral College Is an Instrument of White Supremacy—and Sexism
Interestingly the article above was published in Nov 2012 and this in Nov 2016. Ahem.
Comments: "do you know which other popular governing system was created as a means for men, who owned slaves and viewed women as inherently inferior, to govern themselves? Athen's direct Democracy"
"I bet that if a sufficient number of College members refused to vote for Trump out author would gift us with a think piece hymning the praise of this fine old American institution devised by the wisdom of the Founding Fathers."
"Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't slavery end a while ago? I can't remember the exact dates, but I am pretty sure I have this one right, and living in the past doesn't make you a progressive. The electoral college was a stroke of wisdom from the founders. Without it, we would be a country run by about five major metropolitan areas and no one else would have a say. That would be a rule of tyranny. That you don't see that is an indication of how out of touch and politicized you are. Your goal was a Clinton presidency and, like Clinton, you don't care which rules have to be broken or changed to make that happen."
"You have clarity of vision on the issues. Get rid of the electoral college and the states. Let the majority rule. The protections afforded to minority interests in our constitution are no longer needed now that we can see a clear majority of like minded people on the left that should be in charge."

39 Things Women Will Just NEVER Understand About Being A Man - "3. If you’re with kids, people assume you’re a pedophile
4. Men live in a world where you are constantly unwanted, rejected, and outright feared, just for existing
“Women complain about how they are constantly being objectified and desired by men all the time. Try a world where you are constantly unwanted, rejected, and outright feared, just for existing.”
5. Women constantly attack us, and we’re not allowed to complain
“How helpless we are against the nasty mean looks, jokes, jabs and other subtle ways women attack us with. And on top of that, how society forces us to not complain about it.”
6. As a man you have absolutely no implicit value
Men are not seen as having any sense of valuable identity, beauty, or character. A woman with a career and a college degree is a unique success and glowing individual who is to be celebrated. A man with a career and a degree is only ever “good enough,” to meet the expectation enough that you aren’t ridiculed or seen ostensibly as a failure. Women with high levels of sexual activity may be called slut behind their backs, but they are also celebrated as being empowered. Promiscuous men are called assholes and considered predatory for expressing their sexuality. Many gorgeous men spend their entire lives without ever being complimented once by anyone other than their mother.
7. The constant absence of romance
10. We don’t get complimented on our looks
14. It’s hard to tell whether we’re attractive to women
28. No one ever asks us out "

More than 50% of Britain’s electricity now low carbon according to ground-breaking new report - "nuclear energy provided the largest share of low-carbon energy over the last three months, generating over a quarter of the UK’s electricity (26%), followed by on-shore and off-shore wind (10%), solar (5%), biomass (4%), low-carbon energy imports from France (4%) and hydro (1%)... for almost six full days last quarter, the UK was completely coal free – the first instance Britain burnt no coal to produce its electricity since 1881."
Yet many people want to get rid of nuclear energy

Salon on Twitter: "Sorry, but black people can’t “murder” whites: murder = homicide + power"

Thomas Edison, Power-Napper: The Great Inventor on Sleep and Success - "He reportedly slept a mere three to four hours at night, “regarding sleep as a waste of time, ‘a heritage from our cave days'”... While he carried his lack of sleep as a kind of badge of honor, he had a duplicitous little secret: Power-napping. Not only were napping cots scattered throughout his property, from labs to libraries, but he was also frequently photographed sneaking his stealthy shut-eye in unusual locations."

The Myths Democrats Swallowed That Cost Them the Presidential Election - "Sanders supporters often dangle polls from early summer showing he would have performed better than Clinton against Trump. They ignored the fact that Sanders had not yet faced a real campaign against him. Clinton was in the delicate position of dealing with a large portion of voters who treated Sanders more like the Messiah than just another candidate. She was playing the long game—attacking Sanders strongly enough to win, but gently enough to avoid alienating his supporters. Given her overwhelming support from communities of color—for example, about 70 percent of African-American voters cast their ballot for her—Clinton had a firewall that would be difficult for Sanders to breach. When Sanders promoted free college tuition—a primary part of his platform that attracted young people—that didn’t mean much for almost half of all Democrats, who don’t attend—or even plan to attend—plan to attend a secondary school. In fact, Sanders was basically telling the working poor and middle class who never planned to go beyond high school that college students—the people with even greater opportunities in life—were at the top of his priority list."
Addendum: Other points the author makes are debunked

Altruistic People Have More Sexual Partners - "men will actively compete with one another (termed competitive altruism) by making charitable donations to women. Interestingly, these charitable donations increase when the target of one’s altruism is physically attractive... Previous findings from hunter-gatherer populations have shown that men who hunt and share meat often enjoy greater reproductive access to women... altruism mattered more for men’s number of lifetime and casual sex partners than for women’s... personality traits (some of which comprise the “jerk” traits described earlier) did not relate meaningfully to sexual histories.

Sex and dentistry: I made a fellatio prosthetic for my mouth - "Science doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to incorporating human sexuality into research and practice. Dentistry, for example, considers three functions for the oral cavity: aesthetics, pronunciation and mastication. “There is another function, sex, which is never mentioned in the textbooks,” says Ku. “I’m from the gay community and I realised that the medical school is a very patriarchal system, very serious, and the professors are very traditional, particularly in Asian countries. So I wanted to approach that relationship.” Instead of treating disease and restoring normal function to the mouth, Ku imagines dentists enhancing it along one particular line, the act of performing fellatio. To do this, he created retainers which offer a more intense sexual experience for your (male) partner... “A lot of health thinking is moving away from helping the negative of disease, the negative of death, the negative of pain, and moving toward something in its own right, the positive things we should be striving for through all kinds of interventions,” he says. “So this is part of a movement using technology and using science to improve life and not just to reduce harm.”"

Keeping Singapore’s hawker food affordable and accessible - "While the relative price difference between neighbourhoods is moderate, we found that hawker centres in many older estates, such as Bukit Merah, Queenstown and Toa Payoh, offer the cheapest meals. Data from Statistics Singapore show these estates tend to have larger proportions of senior residents, single-member households, divorced and/or separated individuals, and rental flats. In these estates, cheaper food prices could boil down to a simple case of demand and supply, where hawkers charge what they think their clientele are able to afford. In contrast, Bishan has relatively fewer senior residents and Marine Parade has a higher proportion of residents living in private condominiums and landed estates."
Now we know where to find the cheapest hawker food in Singapore

Apple releases $300 book containing 450 photos of Apple products
I guess if you're rich enough to afford Apple products you're rich enough to buy a $300 photobook of them

It only took 36 hours for these students to solve Facebook's fake news problem - "the students show that algorithms can be built to determine within reasonable certainty which news is true and which isn’t, and that something can be done to put that information in front of readers as they consider clicking"

Drivers in China turn to scary decals to deter motorists from using high beam headlights - "the decals are hardly visible in the dark. They appear only when motorists turn on their high beam headlights at the vehicle in front of them... Chinese media have previously reported on several accidents where drivers were momentarily unsighted by high beams, leading to deaths. Earlier in November, police in Shenzhen announced an unusual punishment for drivers who turn on their high beam headlights - staring into the blinding headlights for 60 seconds, and a fine of 300 yuan (S$61)."
In Singapore we have the LKY decal

Elected Presidency changes: Big step backwards for Malay community - "Malay Singaporeans grew out of their historical reliance on such crutches. And that has over time become a source of pride and motivation for the community. In my frequent travels to neighbouring countries and in the speeches I deliver there, I speak proudly of the significant progress the community has made as we proved we could stand on our own feet. That was thanks in no small part to the brave decision by our earlier leaders to take away our proverbial crutches and make us compete on a level playing field. Like everything else, healthy competition drives the community to a higher level. Now, I worry that all that is being undone... I did not sense any clamour for the next president to be from the Malay community... I would argue that more than a Malay president, what Singapore needs is policy consistency - we cannot afford policy twists and turns, especially on a selective basis, no matter how well intended... a hard-fought campaign leading to the election of a Malay president who deserves the position based on the famously Singaporean values of grit and merit. That is worth waiting for. The changes to the Constitution relating to the elected presidency may have inadvertently denied me and other members of Singapore's minority communities the pleasure of seeing that happen."

The truth about porn: why masturbation won't kill your sex life - "IT HAS been blamed for brain shrinkage, impotence, divorce and paedophilia – and in April this year, Utah declared it a public health hazard... About 46% of US men and 16% of women watch porn in a given week... David Ley, who heads an addiction clinic called New Mexico Solutions, says usually porn isn’t the problem, but people’s guilt about using it is. “Study after study shows that self-identified porn addicts are not watching more porn than other people, but have moral values that conflict with their use”... Many people, perhaps the majority, get more benefits than harms from porn, according to a Danish study of about 700 straight men and women. Both sexes thought that overall, it had a positive effect on their sex life, knowledge about sex and life in general"

Study from 2012 now corrected to show liberals, not conservatives, more authoritarian - "A correction to a frequently cited 2012 study has been issued, after researchers discovered they mixed up results purporting to show conservatives are more likely than liberals to exhibit behaviors linked to psychoticism, such as authoritarianism and tough-mindedness... “Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response,” the authors said. “Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.”"
Keywords: Psychotic

North Korea requests China refrain from calling leader “Fatty Kim III”

Vegans and vegetarians think they don’t kill animals but they do - "For a carnivore to be violent is logical, but for a vegan to be violent is philosophically inconsistent.
Have you met violent vegans?
I was the managing director of Buenos Aires Zoo. I resigned because I tried to transform it into a conservation centre for endangered species but couldn’t. There were these vegans who’d demonstrate in front of the zoo, shouting at the families who came in, calling them murderers. That damages veganism. People think: if this is veganism then I want no part of it. Not all vegans are like that, of course. But there are lots of people who develop a great empathy for domestic animals only. Many of them end up hating people and that’s a pathology: it’s not healthy... I never see them fighting for the creation of new protected areas or combatting the illegal trafficking of wildlife. I see them protesting bullfighting, which no longer goes on in Argentina, and slaughterhouses. It’s like they only care about domestic animals which, again, are not in danger of extinction"

Antibiotic abuse killing thousands in Thailand - "Many developing countries with poor healthcare systems allow antibiotics to be sold without a prescription. In middle-income Thailand, which draws medical tourists from all over the world, antibiotics are freely available in pharmacies and even convenience stores... Many also ask for the smallest available packs of amoxicillin - a 30-baht (S$ 1.20) strip of 10 generic capsules - and need to be persuaded to buy another strip to make it a full course of antibiotics"

Fewer Singaporean men finding love with foreign wives - "things changed the minute they registered their marriage two years ago. She did not show up for their wedding reception that night, saying she had to rush back to China as there was an accident at home. When she returned two months later, she gave excuses not to consummate the marriage and would often not be home for days on end. After she became a Singapore PR, she told Andy that she would not sleep with him as he was "fat and smelly"... "News of some Vietnamese wives running away shortly after marriage also does not help.""
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