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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Links - 12th November 2016

Anti-Trump Demonstrators Take to the Streets in Several U.S. Cities - The New York Times - "Chanting “Not my president,” several hundred protesters streamed through the streets of Berkeley and Oakland in the predawn hours of Wednesday venting their anger at the election of Donald J. Trump as president. Demonstrations were also reported in Pittsburgh, Seattle and Portland, Ore. The California Highway Patrol said that one protester, who was not identified, sustained major injuries after being hit by a car when protesters attempted to move onto a freeway... The crowd of anti-Trump protesters burned American flags and chanted “That’s not my president.” In Seattle, a group of about 100 protesters gathered in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, blocked roads and set a trash bin on fire... The student-run campus newspaper, The Pitt News, posted on Twitter about an event later Wednesday titled “Emergency Meeting: Let’s Unite to Stop President Trump.” “We can’t just sit back and let a racist and sexist become president”"
Funny, I thought it was said that Trump supporters wouldn't accept a Clinton win

Thousands rail against Trump: Protesters march on 101 Freeway in L.A., burn Trump's head in effigy - "Traffic backed up for miles, and authorities did not provide a timetable for when the freeway would reopen. Clad in riot gear, CHP officers warned protesters that arrests were imminent and urged motorists to return to their vehicles. But some demonstrators remained, waving flags from U.S. and Mexico and chanting, “Hands up; don’t shoot”... Marchers spray painted profanity-laced screeds on TV news vans and the Los Angeles Times building. Fireworks also shot off near the LAPD’s headquarters."

Patrick O'Neill's answer to How is Donald Trump different from Hitler? - Quora - "By the November 1932 elections in Germany, Adolf Hitler had a private paramilitary force of more than a half-million men at his disposal, many veterans of the war who were regularly engaging in organized, bloody street fights with political rivals.
Donald Drumpf has a private jet and regularly engages in Twitter fights with B-list celebrities.
Adolf Hitler had attempted a violent coup d'etat against the Weimar Republic, the Beer Hall Putsch, for which he was arrested and convicted with treason.
Donald Drumpf has participated in a professional wrestling story line, a reality television show, and was part owner of several beauty pageants...
The National Socialist Program 25 Point Program included these gems: We demand land and territory for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population....
Donald Drumpfs website calls for these things:
Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners
Business Tax Reform To Encourage Jobs And Spur Economic Growth
Make Mexico Pay For The Wall
Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States"

Trump and Brexit: Revenge of the Anti-Globalists – So Raven - "Even if racial bigotry were playing a crucial role here, one must then ask what is it that made these sentiments so central to this particular election when a black man won all of those states in both 2008 and 2012? I think a more satisfying explanation is needed... Take the same human being with all his goodness and imperfections and place him in each of the two situations. Racism and bigotry just seems so unsatisfactory an answer to the divergent outcomes we see today... In light of this larger global tide, Hillary Clinton was probably the worst candidate that the Democrats could have chosen"

Teaching Logic with Presidential debates - "The next interesting point was the distribution of fallacies. Trump had many—as I had anticipated—but Clinton had her fair share as well. I think it was eye-opening for the students to systematically break down how a seasoned politician uses rhetorical strategies to shift even issues questions towards points she’d rather be discussing and away from those she’d rather not. My sense of my students was that most (but not all) of them lean Democrat. Nevertheless, within a few minutes they were calling out fallacies on Clinton with gusto."

Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there - "Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition. To try to put over such a nominee while screaming that the Republican is a rightwing monster is to court disbelief. If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen because it was her turn... It always struck me as strange that such an unpopular candidate enjoyed such robust and unanimous endorsements from the editorial and opinion pages of the nation’s papers, but it was the quality of the media’s enthusiasm that really harmed her. With the same arguments repeated over and over, two or three times a day, with nuance and contrary views all deleted, the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station... How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such an approach?... The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn’t all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn’t accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away. The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the “last thing standing” between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability. Enough with these comfortable Democrats and their cozy Washington system. Enough with Clintonism and its prideful air of professional-class virtue. Enough!"

Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly - "Lichtman's prediction isn't based on horse-race polls, shifting demographics or his own political opinions. Rather, he uses a system of true/false statements he calls the "Keys to the White House" to determine his predicted winner"

Listening to What Americans Said on Election Day - "This is what we hear when we listen to Democrats willing to speak honestly about Bill and Hillary Clinton. On March 8, 2015, one of their longest-serving advisers told me the biggest threat to her candidacy wasn’t a newly discovered private email server. This person said the political danger lied in what the emails might reveal about any nexus between her work at State and donations to the Clinton foundation from U.S. corporations and foreign nations. “Longtime whispers of pay-to-play are going to become shouts,” the source said. “Follow the foundation money." This is what we hear when we listen to Democrats who defend and enable her behavior, who distort the truth and flat-out lie because the ends justified their means. “Trust doesn’t matter,” a senior adviser to Clinton’s campaign told me later in the spring of 2015."

Unhypnotizing a Clinton Supporter | Scott Adams' Blog - "1. Trump’s Tough Talk Inspires violence: Ask Clinton supporters if they have seen the Project Veritas video of Clinton operatives talking about paying people to incite violence at Trump rallies. The people on the video have been fired, and we haven’t seen violence at Trump rallies since.
2. Temperament: Ask Clinton supporters if they have seen the video of Clinton ranting “Why aren’t I already fifty points ahead?” She looks either inebriated or deranged. Mention that the people who know Trump personally have reported that he is both smart and sane in person. Even his enemies who know him personally don’t claim he has a temperament problem. If he did, is there any chance we wouldn’t have heard about it by now?
5. Trump might start a war: Trump owns buildings and property around the world. As a general rule, people who own a lot of real estate don’t start wars because their own assets are at risk. But Clinton is “sponsored” – via the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees – by defense companies that profit from war. Likewise, Clinton is sponsored by foreign countries whose interests don’t align with American interests
7. Group Violence versus Crazy Individuals: Have you noticed that when you see election-related violence from a group, it is always Clinton supporters? That happened at Trump’s San Jose rally, and it happened with the homeless woman protecting Trump’s star on the Walk of Fame. When Trump supporters do something violent they are usually acting alone, and crazy. When Clinton supporters get violent it comes in the form of mobs who are NOT crazy. That’s the dangerous kind of violence because they are literally Stronger Together...
At the Republican National Convention, Trump used his emotional connection to his supporters to declare he was the strongest voice to protect the LGBTQ community. Republicans stood and cheered"

Peter Thiel takes Donald Trump's Muslim ban 'seriously but not literally' - "Thiel acknowledged the criticism in his speech, complaining that “louder voices have sent a message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one half of the country” and pointing out that an op-ed in the Advocate said Thiel was “an example of a man who has sex with other men” but was “not a gay man” because of his politics. “The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear,” he said. “If you don’t conform then you don’t count as diverse, no matter what your personal background.” “Diversity” is a charged concept for Thiel. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, who has Thiel on his board of directors, defended his politics as an important part of his company’s diversity. In his 1995 book The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus, Thiel wrote: “Real diversity requires a diversity of ideas, not simply a bunch of like-minded activists who resemble the bar scene from Star Wars”...Asked about Trump’s statements proposing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border and a ban on all Muslims entering the country, Thiel suggested that Trump supporters do not actually endorse those policies. “I don’t support a religious test. I certainly don’t support the specific language that Trump has used in every instance,” he said. “But I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally.” The billionaire went on to define how he believes the average Trump supporter interprets the candidate’s statements. “I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally, so when they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ or, you know, ‘How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?’ What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy"... Thiel accused a former Gawker editor of being “an aspiring child pornographer” and called the entire publication a “singularly sociopathic bully”, and portrayed his backing of the lawsuit as an act of charity. “If you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system,” he said."

Why I, and millions like me, will vote for Donald Trump - "Today I will happily cast a vote for Donald Trump. According to the conventional narrative in Europe, that means I must be racist, isolationist, an idiot or all three, right? Wrong. Trump has won me over with a campaign focused on breaking away from the corruption and incompetence that has characterised so much of my country’s leadership over the past 20 years. He has built a remarkable coalition for change, consisting of everyday Republican voters and working-class Americans in industrial regions where Democrats have usually been more successful. He is arguably the closest thing to a One Nation conservative that US politics has seen in a generation. That’s why tens of millions of Americans will be voting for him."

‘I hope whoever wins is a one-term president’ - "Donald Trump is bad, but America can survive him. The world, too, can survive the one term he’ll be able to hold on to. Instead, ask yourself: can the world survive Hillary Clinton? Better yet, ask any Libyan, Iraqi, or Syrian. Actions speak louder than words - vile remarks are incomparable to aggressive warmongering."

Some Who Saw Change in Obama Find It Now in Donald Trump - The New York Times - "Chuck Linton, 69, of Baltimore, a retired military veteran, described Mr. Obama as “condescending” and said that as a black man, he was fed up with Democrats telling him how to vote. “Have you ever seen somebody that talks so good and makes you feel that he is in your favor, he’s in your corner, but the truth of the matter he’s not?” he asked. “That’s Obama.” Mr. Linton, a longtime Democrat, said he planned to vote for Mr. Trump because he believes the businessman will work to quell violence in places like Baltimore, where Mr. Linton said several people he knows have lost loved ones to gun violence... For others it was Mr. Obama’s stances on racial justice issues that made them recoil at his presidency. Meg Amamolo, 57, voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 and 2012, and was excited, as a black woman, to vote to put a black man in the White House. But she grew especially frustrated in 2012 when Mr. Obama weighed in on the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Mr. Obama said... “It became all about making the young black boys realize that the country doesn’t want them,” she said. “Black Americans, they are being made victims by the Democrats so they can get the votes, but nothing is changing.”

From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Primer on Bill and Hillary Clinton Scandals - "The emails represent something of a classic Clinton scandal. Although the House investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on her part with respect to the attacks themselves, it was during that inquiry that her private-email use became public. This is a pattern with the Clinton family, which has been in the public spotlight since Bill Clinton’s first run for office, in 1974: Something that appears potentially scandalous on its face turns out to be innocuous, but an investigation into it reveals different questionable behavior. The canonical case is Whitewater, a failed real-estate investment Bill and Hillary Clinton made in 1978. Although no inquiry ever produced evidence of wrongdoing, investigations ultimately led to President Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice. With Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee for president, every Clinton scandal—from Whitewater to the State Department emails—will be under the microscope. (No other American politicians—even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush—have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.) Keeping track of each controversy, where it came from, and how serious it is, is no small task, so here’s a primer. We’ll update it as new information emerges."

The unbearable daintiness of women who eat with men - "A substantial body of literature suggests that women change what they eat when they eat with men. Specifically, women opt for smaller amounts and lower-calorie foods associated with femininity. So, some scholars argue that women change what they eat to appear more feminine when dining with male companions. For my senior thesis, I explored whether women change the way they eat alongside what they eat when dining with a male vs. female companion"

A critic's plea: stop all arts funding now - Telegraph - "Looking back, I can’t think of one funded show that was any good, while every day the world of commercial entertainment throws up work that is new, vibrant, creative and exciting without any need for government help... Arts funding, on the other hand, creates a culture of long term state dependency where companies are more focused on securing healthy salaries through grants than on producing work the public might actually want to see. The oldest rule in the arts is he who pays the piper calls the tune, and funders, from Arts Council England to local authorities, tend to have very narrow tastes. Getting their support is more about ticking boxes and satisfying the political ideals of committees than developing a genuine creative idea. That’s the antithesis of true artistic endeavour and it's why so much subsidised theatre has a generic look and feel."

Aerosmith's Reunion

"Aerosmith's first post-reunion rehearsals. staged at the Glen Ellen Country Club an hour south of Boston, were rough going. “I had to come back to the house and wash down about six Valiums the size of manhole covers with a six-pack of beer just to calm down,” Perry told Pond. Still firmly ensconced in a drug-and—booze haze, the members had trouble recalling how to play their own songs, no one more so than Tyler. According to Collins, at a get together at WBCN Boston radio disc jockey Mark Parenteau's apartment one evening revealed just how dire the situation was. Parenteau began spinning old Aerosmith records, and, hearing the Toys in the Attic cut “You See Me Crying," Tyler commented. “‘ Hey! That’s great! We should cover this. Who is it?’ Joe [said] , 'It's us, fuckhead.'" The manager was shocked. “Steven hadn’t recognized it," Collins continued. “He’d never sung it in concert, so he’d forgotten it"...

Financially at least. the jaunt was an undeniable success. Ticket and T-shirt prices had increased exponentially since Aerosmith's ’70s heyday, and even with playing considerably smaller halls, the band grossed $5 million in receipts, which, through a bit of fancy accounting work, they were able to shield from Leber-Krebs. “We set up a different legal entity each night for each concert so we could stay one step ahead of the sheriff." Kramer explained in Hit Hard. “Some nights we were performing under the auspices of Large Penis. Inc. Other nights it was Big Belly Productions. After a while Krebs gave up and left us alone.""

--- Aerosmith / Richard Bienstock

Friday, November 11, 2016

Links - 11th November 2016

Eye-tracking of men's preferences for waist-to-hip ratio and breast size of women. - "the initial visual fixation (occurring within 200 ms from the start of each 5 s test) involved either the breasts or the waist. Both these body areas received more first fixations than the face or the lower body (pubic area and legs). Men looked more often and for longer at the breasts, irrespective of the WHR of the images. However, men rated images with an hourglass shape and a slim waist (0.7 WHR) as most attractive, irrespective of breast size. These results provide quantitative data on eye movements that occur during male judgments of the attractiveness of female images, and indicate that assessments of the female hourglass figure probably occur very rapidly."

Provision shop runs on honesty of its customers - "In the void deck of a Housing Board block in Hougang is a provision shop but, unlike others, no one mans it. A handmade cash register at the front of the shop displays instructions on how to pay for items: check the price tag, show it to any one of the shop's eight closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, and place the money into a slot."

Half of Heathrow's 25,000 noise complaints made by the same 10 people - "while 1,209 people complained just once about the noise from aircraft passing overhead, three people contacted the airport more than 1,280 times each - or nearly 14 times a day over three months... In January last year the airport unearthed a scheme whereby campaigners were using automated software to generate complaints against the airport. Officials caught out the set-up when the two anti-Heathrow enthusiasts forgot to take into account the hour going back in October, and began complaining about flights that had not yet taken off or arrived."

This Hawaiian Mushroom Makes Women Orgasm Just By Smelling It - "The orange mushroom smells orgasmic to women and literally caused nearly half of the volunteers for the study to climax. Unfortunately, it smells like week old horse shit to men"

Native English speakers are the world’s worst communicators - "It was just one word in one email, but it triggered huge financial losses for a multinational company. The message, written in English, was sent by a native speaker to a colleague for whom English was a second language. Unsure of the word, the recipient found two contradictory meanings in his dictionary. He acted on the wrong one... The non-native speakers, it turns out, speak more purposefully and carefully, typical of someone speaking a second or third language. Anglophones, on the other hand, often talk too fast for others to follow, and use jokes, slang and references specific to their own culture, says Chong. In emails, they use baffling abbreviations such as ‘OOO’, instead of simply saying that they will be out of the office... When a Brit reacts to a proposal by saying, “That’s interesting” a fellow Brit might recognise this as understatement for, “That’s rubbish.” But other nationalities would take the word “interesting” on face value, he says... “Too many non-Anglophones, especially the Asians and the French, are too concerned about not ‘losing face’ — and nod approvingly while not getting the message at all,” he says."

China's Alibaba in 'flying pig' controversy - "A Chinese Muslim's call for e-commerce giant Alibaba to rename one of its services because it uses the word "pig" has sparked a backlash in China. It all began when Alibaba changed the name of its popular travel booking app from Alitrip to one that means "Flying Pig" in Chinese. Its English name is Fliggy... "But now that Alitrip has changed its name to Flying Pig, I can only uninstall it, and maybe all my Muslim friends too, because the word "pig" is taboo to Muslims all over the world. Alibaba is an international corporation, could it take Muslim taboos into consideration?" he said. His post quickly sparked condemnation and ridicule from other Chinese online, with some asking if this meant China had to expunge all references to pigs in popular culture and literature... The visceral pushback stems from the fact that the pig occupies an important place in Chinese culture."
In other places, things would've gone quite differently

VR Headsets Blamed for Spread of Eye Herpes

Why this local poet doesn't want to be called Indian Singaporean - "I don’t like being called Indian Singaporean. Why do you need to qualify that I’m an Indian Singaporean? Why is Chinese the Times New Roman of what Singaporean means?"
But Chinese Singaporeans call themselves that all the time

Man charged with harassing female students - "Earlier this year, Fong Poh Kuen was charged in court with several offences, including harassing two girls near Saint Andrew's Junior College by videotaping them with his mobile phone... he went to a bus stop on Stevens Road near Raffles Girls' School (Secondary) and allegedly caused annoyance by taking pictures of female students there with his mobile phone. For allegedly doing so, Fong, who has six earlier charges, was charged yesterday with one count of being a public nuisance. He was charged in court earlier this year with one count each of criminal trespass, insulting a woman's modesty, trespassing into a school compound without a satisfactory excuse and causing annoyance. He is also accused of two counts of harassment."
Try charging a man who sexually assaults a boy under 377A and see what happens
Comment: "whoa,taking videos of the public is illegal?or is it just cos theyre females?"


Where can I meet young single women in Singapore? - Quora - "The older ones… esp if beautiful.. all taken if not they are complicated or have personality disorders…"

The ruthlessly effective rebranding of Europe’s new far right - "Finkielkraut, a 67-year-old Jewish liberal, is not an admirer of the Front National, but Marine Le Pen’s deliberate appeals to Jews and gay people have given political expression to an argument that he first made more than a decade ago – that the left, with its indulgence of Islam, poses a greater threat to France than the far right. After Chirac “saved” the republic from Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, Finkielkraut watched the celebrations in the streets and warned that the victors were the real danger: “The future of hate is in their camp and not in the camp of those nostalgic for Vichy,” he wrote, “ … in the camp of the multicultural society and not that of the ethnic nation – in the camp of respect, not that of rejection.” Fourteen years later, after the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan and Nice, Finkielkraut is even more certain he was correct. “Anti-racism today frequently serves as a pretext for not seeing the true danger that threatens us,” he told me when we met in his Paris apartment this summer. While he is still no fan of the FN, he believes it has changed and argues that it “should be resisted, but for what it is today and not what it was in the past, and not in the name of anti-fascism”. The French must, he insisted, “avoid simplistic analogies with the 1930s. We must not mistake what era we live in. Europe doesn’t only have demons; it also has enemies, and it needs to know how to fight those enemies.” He worries that integration has been such a failure that France will have to “reconquer” its “lost territories” – by which he means the suburbs surrounding Paris. “Integrating people is not telling them ‘You are how you are and we are how we are’ … Integration means making them an integral part of our civilisation.” And if that doesn’t happen, he warned darkly, “at best we’ll have secession and at worst civil war”. Continued immigration from Muslim countries, he argues, is nothing less than the “planned demise of Europe”... Whereas young Britons overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU and the elderly voted to leave, in France it is the opposite... There are also many disappointed progressives – the people who saw the cultural victories of the 1960s and 1970s as major battles that had long since been won, making sexual freedom, feminism and gay rights an unquestioned part of Dutch society. Suddenly those old victories seem tenuous. “There is a sense that, ‘We are welcoming and then they do this,’ says Bas Heijne. “They have been terribly let down in their good intentions.” And in such an environment, traditionally leftist constituencies such as gay people and Jews feel threatened – and some have become reflexively suspicious of Muslims."
Calling them far right is like calling the PAP socialist because it started as a socialist party and subsidises healthcare
Branding non-liberals "far right" is one reason more and more people are supporting "far right" parties


Women could conceive at their desks thanks to new fertility pump that 'might be as successful as IVF'

Under attack | The Economist - "Intolerance among Western liberals also has wholly unintended consequences. Even despots know that locking up mouthy but non-violent dissidents is disreputable. Nearly all countries have laws that protect freedom of speech. So authoritarians are always looking out for respectable-sounding excuses to trample on it. National security is one. Russia recently sentenced Vadim Tyumentsev, a blogger, to five years in prison for promoting “extremism”, after he criticised Russian policy in Ukraine. “Hate speech” is another. China locks up campaigners for Tibetan independence for “inciting ethnic hatred”; Saudi Arabia flogs blasphemers; Indians can be jailed for up to three years for promoting disharmony “on grounds of religion, race...caste...or any other ground whatsoever”. The threat to free speech on Western campuses is very different from that faced by atheists in Afghanistan or democrats in China. But when progressive thinkers agree that offensive words should be censored, it helps authoritarian regimes to justify their own much harsher restrictions and intolerant religious groups their violence. When human-rights campaigners object to what is happening under oppressive regimes, despots can point out that liberal democracies such as France and Spain also criminalise those who “glorify” or “defend” terrorism, and that many Western countries make it a crime to insult a religion or to incite racial hatred."

NC State: America 'Land of Opportunity' Is Microaggression - "A “microaggression tool” published by North Carolina State University’s faculty ombuds informs the school’s employees that phrases such as “America is a land of opportunity” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” are “microaggressions” and shouldn’t be used... The phrase “America is a melting pot” is another example microaggression, listed under the theme of “color blindness.” So too is the phrase “There is only one race, the human race.” According to the tool, these microaggressions contain the hidden “message” of “Denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.” The tool was adapted from Derald Wing Sue’s 2010 book “Microaggressions in Everyday Life.” In the book, Sue claimed that a hypothetical “friendly neighbor” wishing a Jewish woman “Merry Christmas” would be a clear microaggression. Sue also called it ironic that “hate crimes are illegal, but microaggressions are not!”"

Groom shocked to find out that his 'pregnant bride' was actually a man - "He revealed to police that in more than a year he had managed to defraud a total of 11 boyfriends out of hundreds of thousands of RMB with only one reporting him to police."

The Islamic State feeds off Western Islamophobia - "“The Islamic State brand is empowering. It tells you you’re a victim and offers a license for revenge. And, through social media, it offers you celebrity, a chance to be somebody rather than nobody. Anyone who thinks a theological argument could counter this is simply naive.” "
Maybe the better moral is that identity politics and the politics of grievance are driving IS - so obsessing about "Islamophobia" is the problem

The horrors of hiring: Asia agency bosses on interviews gone wrong - "Interviewer: Well, what is important to you… when you think of your life what things do you want most or what values do you hold most important?
Candidate: I never do it on the first date.
Interviewer (after a bewildered pause): Sorry? What?
Candidate: But I do do it on the second date."

Beijing urges couples not to wear shorts when applying for marriage licenses, because it could lead to divorce

Newlywed couple spends wedding night copying Communist constitution, netizens' suspicions aroused

For a happier life, give up Facebook, study says - "After a week, those people who hadn't been on Facebook said they were more satisfied with their lives, with 88 percent of them describing themselves as "happy" compared with 81 percent from the second group."

The Triumphant Rise of the Shitpic - "Shitpics happen when an image is put through some diabolical combination of uploading, screencapping, filtering, cropping, and reuploading. They are particularly popular on Instagram"

Meet The Woman With The Best Bum In Brazil - "Cortez said she put a lot of effort into training her body before the BumBum parade, which has been happening for the past five years"

Guy Goes To Mexico To Kill Himself, Spends Week Doing Coke And Banging Hookers, Decides To Keep Living

Turned on by images of vomit and faeces, man tricked 13 young boys to take laxative pills

Why We Are Attracted to Deviant Personalities - "both males and females who were pathologically reckless and impetuous attracted more short-term partners than participants with average personalities. And obsessive-compulsive males—but not females—were successful at securing long-lasting mates, an outcome strongly associated with this group’s high income (obsessive-compulsives made nearly twice as much as the less obsessive study participants), Gutiérrez says. The study results also revealed that neurotic females were more likely to be in lasting relationships. The most neurotic female participants had 34 percent more long-term mates and 73 percent more children than average despite exhibiting a trait typically associated with instability, anxiousness and insecurity, he explains. According to Gutiérrez their results provide the first solid evidence that some personality disorders, rather than illnesses, could be sexually selected evolutionary strategies... Gutiérrez says he once asked a patient why he married a neurotic woman. The man responded: “Me gusta por que es muy mujer” (I like her because she is “very woman”), an answer that may reveal a link between gender differences and stereotypes, says Löckenhoff. “The literature on gender differences suggests that, on average, women are slightly higher in neuroticism than men. Thus, some men could interpret high levels of negative emotionality in a mate as a sign of femininity”

Free Hugs? Let's Try Free Slaps Instead!

The Roots Of Infidelity: Surprising Genetic And Financial Factors Link To Cheating - "Does cheating run in families? Is infidelity, in fact, genetic? A recent study of 7,378 Finnish people between the ages of 18 and 49 uncovered a genetic component to bed-hopping. Surprisingly, the researchers found a link between specific mutations of a receptor gene for vasopressin and infidelity in women... but not men... While dependence breeds fidelity in women, the opposite is true for men. Stay-at-home dads and other men who are completely dependent on their wives’ income are a whopping five times more likely to cheat than men who contribute an equal amount of money to the shared kitty. At the same time, men earning significantly more than their partners also are more likely to stray from the marriage bed."

I’m Not a Feminist—Even Though I Attend a Women’s College

I’m Not a Feminist—Even Though I Attend a Women's College

"Feminism is purported to be a movement towards equality. Fair enough. Most reasonable people support that. But feminism manifests itself differently; instead of the focus on rights and equal opportunity, it is on personal victimhood, political correctness, and attacking others. And, as with all movements, the parameters of feminism are defined by the loudest voices. It is this dominant ideology that I cannot associate myself with.

Contemporary feminism inculcates adherents into a cult of victimhood and exquisite vulnerability—it panders to women’s traumas and teaches them that they have been victimized solely because they are female. Women’s only sin? Living in a world dominated by the patriarchy. The remedy, especially for college students? Trigger warnings, safe spaces, overblown statistics on assault, intolerance of dissent and vitriolic attacks on men.

I was once an obedient soldier in the crusade against the patriarchy. My indoctrination into the feminist orthodoxy began when I was 15 and still in high-school, while taking classes at Cleveland State University. I signed up for Women’s Studies courses, and after reading books written by feminist luminaries like Gloria Steinem, I was hooked.

In one year, I took three Women’s Studies classes. My professors taught me that, because I was a woman, I was victimized and oppressed. Prior to enrolling, I did not see myself that way. Students were told that we are supposed to be angry. Rage was a “normal” reaction. To dismantle the systems of oppression, confrontation was required. For me, and many of my peers, these classes made us feel heady with righteousness. The more strongly we identified with these feelings, the closer we came to a sense that liberation was possible. My growing awareness and attachment to the feminism movement felt powerful, exhilarating, and even erotic.

Yet, after a while, I became disillusioned. Mentioning anything that didn’t support the notion that females were unilaterally oppressed would be akin to blasphemy. Offer a more nuanced reading of the pay gap? Traitor! Bring up the topic of males who suffer violence? That doesn’t matter! Suggest that the term “rape culture” is inflammatory and doesn’t reflect reality? Off with your dick!

In an exquisitely dazzling climax to one of my classes, after weeks of throbbing tension between the (white) professor and an outspoken (black) female student, the student accused the professor of being racist... Instead of defusing the student’s accusations, (as was her responsibility as an adult and teacher) something extraordinary happened. In a paroxysm of indignation, the professor defended herself by saying that it was she that had experienced “the most” oppression in life, since she “once was a woman in the STEM field.” The professor then claimed she could not have been racist, because she was “from Italy.” Some students joined the argument, taking sides. Tears were shed. The professor lost control of the classroom. What began as a midterm day devolved into a match of Oppression Olympics...

I was warned never to go to “East Campus”—the Columbia University residence hall where “all the rapists live.” [It is important to note that Barnard and Columbia share a campus and have intertwined academics] Men were all potential rapists, especially Columbia men...

In keeping with the paradigm of victimhood, students here often volley the question to peers: Should I report my professor for not using a trigger warning? For being classist? Unfortunately, some students feel so vulnerable that when a professor says something even marginally offensive, the immediate solution is to tell an administrator. Nevermind trying to solve the problem yourself. Nevermind thinking about the potential consequences of alleging wrongdoing, especially towards adjunct professors who do not yet have permanent employment in these institutions.

This dynamic manifests itself in student to student interactions as well. While the Resident Assistant’s primary duty is to ensure the wellbeing of students, I have seen them used as ‘higher-ups’ for students to deal with roommates who express controversial opinions or who fail to follow the conventions of political correctness. In the name of social justice, the loudest feminists (which are the minority that give the majority a bad reputation) often seem to be the ones that viciously attack dissenters, hush the concerns of men, and focus resolutely on the plight of women. If attacking someone through Facebook isn’t satisfying enough, there’s always an administrator or higher up to complain to."


Comments:

"Yes, this is what 3rd wave “feminists” have done with the women’s movement. To 2nd wave feminists like myself, feminism was a political movement whose concern was social justice, and whose goals are to improve women’s socioeconomic and educational opportunities, to rewrite antiquated rape legislation, and to improve women’s access to reproductive health care (such as birth control and abortion).

3rd wave feminists instead turned it into a religion or dogma whose catechism is “gender is a social construct created by patriarchy to oppress women; we are born as blank slates and all sex differences are artifacts of socialization.” And while they quibble over terms, women’s rights are slowly eroding. Planned Parenthood is under attack and nearly defunded, putting the lives of millions of poor women and their children at risk. Abortion clinics are bombed and closed, there continues to be a steady loss of female talent from the science pipeline (50% assistant professors, 25% full professors, a stat that has been relatively stable for two decades), and women continue to earn less than men.

In other words, third wave feminists have dropped the ball, allowing rollback of so many of the rights and equities 2nd wave feminists fought so hard to achieve. And they have so badly distorted what the term “feminist” means that otherwise intelligent people of good social conscience distance themselves from the term and the causes that are vital to the lives of every woman."


"I’ve been continuously active on FB since November 2007, and in the beginning it seemed like a great place to have debates and discussions, about politics, philosophy, economics, etc. I really felt like I was contributing to discovering hidden truths and getting people to understand each other. It was a heady experience.

But then ElevatorGate happened, and the regressive feminists invaded. They turned brother against brother, and no one could have a dialog any more without being accused of “microaggression” or being told to “check their privilege” (the thought-terminating cliché of choice, seemingly). I’ve probably had somewhere north of 1000 conversations with feminists, socialists, racialists and other victimhood fetishists in the last four years on FB, and virtually all of them follow the same pattern, without fail: calmly and with (frankly excessive) civility introduce exhibits challenging the victimist narrative, SJWs immediately start screaming, calling names, banning, blocking, doxxing, calling people racist/sexist/Monsanto shill/corporate shill/bigot/Republican/rape enabler/rape apologist, etc. I’ve been told only white males can be racist or sexist, because PAUER, which just doesn’t make any damn sense to me, no matter how I squint my eyes or cock my head. I’ve learned more women’s studies jargon than I ever intended to. Social media used to be a place where people could speak their minds without fear of getting punched in the face (a fear that compels some to hold their tongue in a face-to-face discussion), and the honesty that resulted was intoxicating. Now it’s all landmines and eggshells at every turn; every discussion is seemingly someone playing out the Karpman drama triangle, every thread a new opportunity for some to break their previous high score for doublethink and hypocrisy, every comment from an SJW a trap to get you to write something that can be twisted around and then emailed to your employer, along with a vacuous boycott threat, presumably with the intent of getting you fired from your job. And all thanks to the regressives and their puerile obsession with identity politics and victimism. They have much to atone for."


"I can tell you that the only people that victim feminism helps are the loudmouths who get paid to “help” the poor victims who stay victims because of that horrible mentality. Victim feminism is just the same as patriarchy – it is the priviledged few paid lots to patronise and control the many while pretending and “seeming” to help."

" I always thought of myself as a male supporter of feminism but I’ve met a lot of feminists who are basically hostile to me just because I’m male and maybe have a different opinion then them about something."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Links - 10th November 2016

Two King Edwards | Podcast | History Extra - "One of the characteristics of a disempowered monarchy that no longer has political clout or can intervene decisively in anything is that the monarchs become more and more absorbed by and fascinated by technical niceties and trivia. And the obsession with uniforms and clothes and dress and appearance of Edward VII and of George V is, would now be thought OCD, though i don't think it was anything of the sort. But it was one of the ways in which the monarchs could still show power, admitted... in many ways on a pathetic level. And there's a wonderful account of Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, turning up for a royal audience with Edward VII in completely the wrong clothes. He's wearing the jacket of an Elder of Trinity House and then the Court Trousers. And he's soundly rebuked by by Edward VII and replies: "I'm very sorry Your Majesty but it was a very dark morning and no doubt my mind was on smaller matters"...
[Elizabeth II] has completely toed the line. I mean she has never in her life said anything of the slightest interest to anybody on a public occasion. She'd sometimes overheard by microphones but she doesn't do that. She doesn't do what Edward VIII did, which was sort of make noises of appeasing noises or anything controversial. She keeps out of controversy at all costs. And she knows that the essence of the monarchy is to be inclusive and not divisive. Really, I think you can say that her devotion to duty and her taking the middle path and being inclusive and not divisive for the whole of her very long reign has been part of the legacy of Edward VIII... As the present Queen apparently once said, she's got to be seen to be believed. In other words she's got to project herself... she has got to be there as the National Fetish... The monarchy is, it's a quasi-religion. It's a form of, been described as a form of British Shintoism"

The end of the First World War and the Duke of Wellington | Podcast | History Extra - "For many of these states, the post-war conflicts are extremely important because this really marks the beginning of independent statehood. It also helps countries like Poland for example to avoid the very difficult issue that many Poles fought in different armies. Some fought in the Germany army, some fought in the Russian army. Others fought in the Austro-Hungarian army. So how can you commemorate this conflict say in Poland without opening a number of wounds? The post-war conflict by contrast helped to establish the Polish nation state. They are also associated with certain victories that were over Russia and therefore much easier to commemorate as success stories than the deeply divisive events of the First World War"

Patently Absurd! - More absurd UK patents - "UK Patent Application No. GB2272154. A ladder to enable spiders to climb out of a bath. It comprises a thin flexible latex rubber strip which follows the inner contours of the bath. A suction pad 5 is attached to the top edge of the bath."

The Truth About Spiders In Your Bath - deBugged - "The truth – which you’ll probably be relieved to hear – is that spiders don’t come up the plughole of your bath. There is almost always a U-bend in the plumbing just below your plug holes. The reason for this isn’t to keep spiders coming up them, but to stop items falling down and clogging the drain."

ExpatSingapore - What does 'light cooking' mean? - "Light cooking means just what it says - no heavy cooking. No pungent smell such as cooking belachan. No deep frying that smokes out the whole house. No strong curry that permeates to your neighbours. In short, considerate cooking. Soup, instant noodles, rice, microwave etc."

Chris Rock and ‘Real Things to Protest’ - WSJ - "No one would mistake funnyman Chris Rock for a political conservative, but his observational humor has never spared liberals—including fellow blacks—as the nation witnessed once again during Sunday night’s Oscar telecast... Mr. Rock mocked black celebrities who successfully command tens of millions of dollars a film and then denounce the entertainment industry as racially “unfair.” More pointedly, he urged viewers to keep matters in historical perspective... He noted that in the 1950s and 1960s black people didn’t have time to protest trivialities like the lack of recognition from Tinsel Town “because we had real things to protest,” such as the denial of basic civil rights. Al Sharpton, whom Mr. Rock mentioned in passing, has nothing better to do these days than boycott the Oscars because serious black leaders like Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr. fought and won infinitely more consequential battles—such as against legal racial discrimination and voter disenfranchisement—more than 50 years ago... The disconnect between the agenda of liberal black elites and the needs of the people they claim to represent is as wide as ever... The Democratic candidates have gone out of their way to reassure black voters that white oppression explains racial disparities, and that more government is the solution. The black underclass is being told in so many words that they bear little or no responsibility for their circumstances. They are being told that black incarceration rates are a bigger problem than black crime rates. They are being told that white racism, not antisocial behavior and counterproductive attitudes toward work, school and marriage is the more significant barrier to upward mobility in America today. The political left’s ultimate objective is to strip blacks of their capacity to make choices and act on their own"

Why it's not OK for white people to have dreadlocks - "Sure, dreadlocks have appeared at different unconnected parts of the world over time – so you may attribute it to Egyptians or Celtic “fairie locks”. But really, the source of its current popularity is largely due to the life and death of Marley and the apparent “humanist” movement he created (NB humanism sort of preaches “we’re all humans”, so sees things such as anti-racism and feminism as holding us back). For some it may even be an appreciation of the Rastafari movement. Now, I don’t know why white people choose to wear dreadlocks, but there seem to be a few reasons. If you wear dreadlocks as an appreciation of black culture, then by wearing dreadlocks and perpetuating white privilege as a result then aren’t you actually harming the black diaspora in the UK? If you truly cared for black people and not just our culture you wouldn’t want to wear dreadlocks. Secondly, if you wear dreadlocks because it “looks cool” then you’re still perpetuating white privilege and you’ve chosen to be ignorant of the significant contemporary history. Finally, if you wear dreadlocks because you think it symbolises a humanist ideal, then you’ve attached the wrong political meaning to them and instead you’re damaging the anti-oppression movement for which they truly symbolise... The intrinsic politics in dreadlocks is that it is a symbol of global anti-racism – which is why it’s a fallacy to use something held dearly to the black liberation movement to perpetuate white privilege."

Banning child labour imposes naive western ideals on complex problems - "Do parents whose offspring work love their kids any less? No. Many of these children work simply to make their families’ ends meet, poor families whose income is around the subsistence level often have little choice. We easily forget that child labour was commonplace in western societies before they were affluent. For instance, nearly half of the workforce in British cotton mills in the early 19th century consisted of children. One may argue that a formal ban on child labour will be the requisite trigger to reform labour conditions in low-income countries, or at least improve the living situation of former child labourers. This is a naive idea, because it ignores the direct and indirect effects of such a ban. For families with subsistence incomes who cannot rely on a societal safety net, an efficiently enforced ban can be devastating... One academic study demonstrated the unintended consequences of a western-imposed ban on soccer balls stitched at home by children and their families. Researchers found that the initiative, which involved shifting the work away from homes and into more formal stitching centres, led to income drops, reduced female work participation rates, and offered no clear benefits for children of the affected Pakistani families. When talking in terms of a categorical ban on child labour, it’s also important to understand that the involvement of children in economic activities is subject to intercultural differences. Many societies see children working as perfectly acceptable, especially in the context of family business"

Why some factory owners are celebrating India's child labour bill - "Under a new, controversial child labour law that has just been passed by the Indian parliament, children younger than 14 are barred from working. But a provision says they may work after school hours and on holidays in the sports or entertainment industry or in family enterprises."

The 'Beyond Burger' probably won't make you give up beef - "Beyond Meat has been researching the idea of building protein products out of plants for more than seven years. It eventually settled on a formula that uses pea protein with some canola and coconut oil to create a slightly fatty, cholesterol-free patty that's even the right shade of red, thanks to the addition of beet juice. It actually changes color as it cooks to... the texture is the most damning thing here. While I found the Impossible Burger to be softer and mealier than beef, Beyond's patty lands at the other end of the spectrum. It's tough, though not impossible to eat. It was also inconsistent: Some parts seemed more gamey than others, like cheap ground meat you'd buy with a higher level of gristle. Those bits were still edible, but they threw off the mouthfeel."

That Dire Helium Shortage? Vastly Inflated - "“I’ve seen a lot of talk about this global shortage of helium—that’s actually not the case. In the United States, we’ve got at least 20 years of known supplies that are easily, readily available.” There’s far more worldwide—including now this new rich deposit found in Tanzania. In 2014, the US Department of Interior estimated that there are 1,169 billion cubic feet of helium reserves left on Earth. That’s enough for about 117 more years."

'Racist' African-American 'Battle of Complexions' causes outrage - "A nightclub event pitting light skinned, brown skinned and dark skinned African-American women against each other in a beauty contest of complexions has caused outraged. 'Battle of the Complexions' contest held last night in St Louis has been accused of degrading women and promoting historical divisions... The event went ahead as planned on Friday and was hailed a success by Nelly Da'Celeb on his Facebook page."

Merkel - Jihadists are among migrants

Official from Dutch government claims Isis is 'Zionist plan' - "Yasmina Haifi, who works for the Dutch Justice Ministry's National Cyber Security Centre, made the controversial statement on Twitter yesterday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported."

Now Brussels clamps down on freedom of British press - "it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.”

Turkey is not part of Europe – as the history of our continent shows - "The trouble with basing the arguments for Turkey’s admission on particular strategies of foreign policy is that circumstances change. Turkey no longer looks so shiningly like a democratic, secular state, but more like an Islamising one with an Ottoman nostalgia. The “moderation” of its avowedly Islamist government is beginning to look like a mask that may soon be thrown off. Like Saudi Arabia, it does not scruple to co-operate with religious fanatics in bringing down the secular regime in Syria... To adapt the words of Charles de Gaulle, we do have a certain idea of Europe. It may be fuzzy at the edges, but it has something to do with the Roman Empire, something to do with Latinity and Hellas and all that we inherit from both of those, and something to do with Christianity and its own mediation of Latin and Greek culture, the heritage of Israel. Then there is the Renaissance, the scientific revolution – all the ways in which Europe made modernity. Even the European wars of religion, the conflict between Lutheranism and Catholicism, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation have shaped a common experience and even, paradoxically, a sense of how we can come together. However shakily, European history – not to mention geography – does give some content to a European ideal. But this is not at all what the rulers of the European Union believe. The only part of European history that seems alive to them is the two world wars... Europe detached from history, culture and geography becomes indefinitely expansible, subject to imperial overstretch and a candidate for eventual implosion"

People Were Not Happy With Ellen After She Posted A Usain Bolt Meme - "Some Twitter users are offended by the image of a white woman “riding” a black man... Oh, and in case you were wondering, Usain himself retweeted her original image."
This is why people aren't more inclusive
Comment: "those claiming racism are truly the racists because Ellen doesn't judge on colour, but apparently you do."


Chinese Privilege or Natural Competitiveness? - "There is no doubt that racism and prejudice exists on an endemic level in all populations, even in relatively homogenous communities. However Sangeetha herself is not terribly interested in really standing up to legit examples of such, having managed to use the classic sleight-of-hand “minorities cannot be oppressors” logic to excuse the blatant bigotry in her social activism, which at of this point has managed to make a villain of anybody who isn’t South Indian, female, dark skinned and fat. What is interesting is how local progressive liberals who are the targets of her “you are not true social justicers” drivel are taking it, given a good chunk of her attacks are directed at other SJWs. It always warms my heart to see SJWs eat each other... Does Chinese Privilege really exist in Singapore? The problem with this question is that Sangeetha has chosen not to define it, keeping it, as in the words of the comic above, “spooky and vague, and hence advantageously non-falsifiable”. The closest one could come to a general definition of it would be “anything the Chinese do that causes butthurt for a minority in Singapore”. Which of course is not a very useful definition because it is reliant on the subjective feelings of people... The employer could try the social justice route and attempt to hire a minority non-Chinese speaker for front-line service staff, but in all likelihood would quickly find that this isn’t an optimal business choice. This is how the math simply works, this is not Chinese Privilege any more than being omnivorous gives you more food choices than a vegan means you have Omnivore Privilege... At the end of the day, a lot of the touted “institutional advantages” that any group enjoys boil down to being butthurt about how some mundane confluences of circumstances have led to a particular group having competitive advantages by virtue of the environment. This is a very big difference from asserting that the less-stellar outcomes or difficulties come from deliberate and overt oppression and prejudice. The proper response would be to understand these realities, and seek to best work around or even co-opt them instead of bitterly railing against the cards that nature has given us."

A New Demon for Sangeetha Thanapal | Talon's Rest - "Apparently the whole Chinese Privilege gig was getting a bit old, given she has single-handedly alienated her Chinese “allies” by berating them at every turn and demanding they hand over status or resources, because Sangeetha is now moving further afield to another unmined demographic to cast her aspersions on. Other Indians... Don’t be a dope and pledge “solidarity” with a person who only wants your destruction at the end of the day. There are only a few appropriate responses one should level at such folks and their ilk and they all revolve around apathy and ridicule."

7 Malaysian wardens radicalised by detainees

DAILY POST: What motivated this Nigerian boxer to do the unthinkable in Rio will surprise you (VIDEO) - "Nigerian Boxer, Efe Ajagba, took just 23 seconds to knockout his Trinidad & Tobago opponent, Nigel Paul, in Boxing Super Heavyweight 91kg quarter finals at Rio 2016 Olympics. His left and right combination were devastating. His secret? He says, “I just focused all the anger I had for the Nigerian Government in one blow”"

Man Dressed as E. Coli Kicked out of Halloween Party for Appropriating Bacterial Culture - "“I knew that guy was bad news as soon as he showed up,” reported party host Aaron Sweeney, picking up the boa feathers and Harley Quinn wigs strewn about his living room and wiping Tostito crumbs off of his ‘Bernie or Bust’ T-shirt. “He just made everyone so uncomfortable. I thought we were past that era in our history now, but apparently not. I mean, every day I see anti-bacterial and sanitizing products being used without thought, it’s a disgusting assault on Prokaryotic-Americans.” When asked how he responded to the egging of his house, Sweeney turned and pointed to the massive plate of scrambled eggs on his kitchen table and gave a sad thumbs up, as salmonella vomit slowly drizzled out of his mouth."

Paul McHugh: Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution

Paul McHugh: Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution - WSJ

"The government and media alliance advancing the transgender cause has gone into overdrive in recent weeks...

Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes...

Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight...

Psychiatrists obviously must challenge the solipsistic concept that what is in the mind cannot be questioned. Disorders of consciousness, after all, represent psychiatry's domain; declaring them off-limits would eliminate the field. Many will recall how, in the 1990s, an accusation of parental sex abuse of children was deemed unquestionable by the solipsists of the "recovered memory" craze.

You won't hear it from those championing transgender equality, but controlled and follow-up studies reveal fundamental problems with this movement. When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London's Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings...

We at Johns Hopkins University—which in the 1960s was the first American medical center to venture into "sex-reassignment surgery"—launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as "satisfied" by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn't have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a "satisfied" but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.

It now appears that our long-ago decision was a wise one. A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden produced the most illuminating results yet regarding the transgendered, evidence that should give advocates pause. The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.

There are subgroups of the transgendered, and for none does "reassignment" seem apt. One group includes male prisoners like Pvt. Bradley Manning, the convicted national-security leaker who now wishes to be called Chelsea. Facing long sentences and the rigors of a men's prison, they have an obvious motive for wanting to change their sex and hence their prison. Given that they committed their crimes as males, they should be punished as such; after serving their time, they will be free to reconsider their gender.

Another subgroup consists of young men and women susceptible to suggestion from "everything is normal" sex education, amplified by Internet chat groups. These are the transgender subjects most like anorexia nervosa patients: They become persuaded that seeking a drastic physical change will banish their psycho-social problems. "Diversity" counselors in their schools, rather like cult leaders, may encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery"

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Links - 9th November 2016

Trump losing the presidential election will be bad for American democracy, according to an Oxford professor - "the next Republican candidate is unlikely to cleave close to the middle ground. Instead, Trump’s campaign has exacerbated the party’s tendency—well demonstrated by the rise of the Tea Party—to look for radical solutions to the country’s problems. This is not good news for those who fear that party politics need to become more conciliatory to avoid political deadlock and restore a sense of national unity. Moreover, this is not just an issue for the Republican party: It also has significant implications for the presidency. A candidate that espoused Trumpesque views without exhibiting his flaws and alienating women would have won this election—and could well win the next one, especially given four more years to build support."

Wikileaks: Clinton Aide Said James Comey Was Bad for FBI - "A senior aide to Hillary Clinton privately dismissed FBI Director James Comey as “a bad choice” in October 2015, according to newly released emails from WikiLeaks. The blunt assessment foreshadowed the dramatic tension that has escalated between Comey and the Democratic presidential candidate in the final days before the election. Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri forwarded to colleagues a news article in which the FBI director suggested that crime could be rising because police officers were becoming less aggressive as a result of the “Ferguson effect,” anti-police sentiment following unrest earlier that year in Ferguson, Missouri. Comey was widely criticized over the remarks."

Western Roman Empire: Overwhelmed by Immigrants - "On that occasion, known to history as the Battle of Adrianople, which is usually considered to be the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire, tens of thousands of Romans and their allies were hewn down, crippling the once-invincible Roman military and guaranteeing the supremacy of the Goths in the eastern portions of the empire ever after. Within a generation, the Goths, emboldened and battle-hardened, would arrive at the gates of the Eternal City itself, and become the first foreign power in eight centuries to sack Rome. And all of it began because of an immigration crisis.
For those who like to share silly articles comparing Trump to Hitler

'He's vulgar – but honest': Filipinos on Duterte's first 100 days in office - "From the hundreds of responses we received to our callout the main objection against the international media was not criticism for what Duterte has said or done, but the lack of recognition for the positive things his administration has implemented... There has also been a decrease in laglag bala (literally “drop bullet”) incidents at airports, after Duterte prevented authorities from arresting passengers who were found with bullets in their baggage. The tanim bala (bullet planting) scam saw staff insert bullets into the luggage of passengers as a means to extort them for money. Other developments have included a proposed nationwide ban on karaoke sound systems after 10pm, the removal of age limit requirements for job seekers, as well as the assurance that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be protected from corruption and abuse abroad. It is these changes that persuade people like Nique, from Baguio, that Duterte is the right president for the Philippines. “I think he has his hits and misses but more so on the hits. He did warn us that the war against drugs would be bloody, and here it is happening. Foreigners expect that a president should be prim and proper but he was voted by the majority of the Filipinos despite knowing his reputation as then-mayor of Davao”... “The world did not care about the Philippines before. Why is it, all of a sudden, concerned about the Philippines now?”"

And on Saturday: Too many festivals spoil the market - "This month alone, there are three film festivals competing for my eyeballs and credit cards: the German Film Festival (Nov 3 – 13), the French Film Festival (Nov 10 – 20) and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Singapore International Film Festival (Nov 23 – Dec 4). That’s not forgetting other film festivals that had already done their time: the Israel Film Festival (Sept 22 – 25); the Buddhist Film Festival (Sept 17 – 24), the Japanese Film Festival (Sept 1 – 18), the Design Film Festival (Sept 3 – 11), the Love and Pride Film Festival (Aug 19 – 31) and the European Union Film Festival (May 10 – 22)... As if that doesn’t pile on our misery, there are numerous arts festivals whooshing through and swishing around town. This month alone, there are six die-die-must-go festivals, happening almost one after another: the Singapore Biennale (Oct 27 – Feb 26), the Illustration Arts Festival (Oct 28 – Nov 6), the Singapore River Festival (Nov 4 – 5), the Singapore Writers Festival (Nov 4 – 13), the Affordable Art Fair (Nov 18 – 20) and the Anime Festival Asia (Nov 25 – 27)."

In Australia: giant spider carrying a mouse is horrifying and impressive

Algeria blocks social media to beat exam cheats

Malaysia police chief warns of 'push-pocket' blackmail scams - "Malaysia's police chief has advised the public not to fall prey to "push-pocket" criminals who accuse victims of stealing their personal items as part of a blackmail scam."

History is made at night: When the Waltz was Banned - "
'[The Waltz] had a swing that demanded a new style of dancing, a close hold (to maintain balance), and a breathless turn of speed that was itself intoxicating. Naturally, the pleasure it gave to the couples who lost themselves in each other's arms, who pressed breast against chest and who, as the music whirled on, embraced each other more and more tightly, itself attracted strong criticism. In parts of Germany and Switzerland, the waltz was banned altogether. A German book proving that "the waltz is a main source of the weakness of body and mind of our generation" proved popular as late as 1799"

Germans Are Leaving Germany 'In Droves' - "Data from the German statistics agency, Destatis, shows that 138,000 Germans left Germany in 2015. More are expected to emigrate in 2016. In a story on brain drain titled, "German talent is leaving the country in droves," Die Welt reported that more than 1.5 million Germans, many of them highly educated, left Germany during the past decade... At the height of the migrant crisis in October 2015, some 800 citizens gathered at a town hall meeting in Kassel/Lohfelden to protest a unilateral decision by the local government to set up migrant shelters in the city. The President of Kassel, Walter Lübcke, responded by telling those who disagree with the government's open-door immigration policy that they are "free to leave Germany at any time"... the newsmagazine, Focus, reported that Germans have been moving to Hungary. A real estate agent in a town near Lake Balaton, a popular tourist destination in western Hungary, said that 80% of the Germans relocating there cite the migration crisis as the main reason for their desire to leave Germany."

Piers Morgan Suggests Deporting 'White Trash Racists' To Make Room For Refugees

You Can’t Be a Real Country Unless You Have a Beer and an Airline - "In 1989 “The Real Frank Zappa Book” was published by the well-known songwriter and musician, and it included an instance of the remark mentioned above. Zappa was not eager to write a book, but he offered an important rationale in the introduction... One of the reasons for doing this is the proliferation of stupid books (in several languages) which purport to be About Me. I thought there ought to be at least ONE, somewhere, that had real stuff in it... Every major industrialized nation has A BEER (you can’t be a Real Country unless you have A BEER and an airline—it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need A BEER)."

Why The BBC Calls ISIS “So-Called Islamic State” - "This struck me as politically correct rubbish. Yet upon further examination, the term “so-called Islamic state” is something of a compromise by the Beeb after then British PM David Cameron led an effort last year to have the BBC stop using the term “Islamic State” altogether... in denying ISIS’ Islamic nature, both the British government and British Muslims demonstrate they are angrier at ISIS being called Islamic rather than they are at their murderous acts. Like it or not, there is a critical mass of Muslims in Britain who support ISIS and are prepared to travel to Iraq, Syria and Libya to take up the cause. Indeed, back in 2014, Britain’s Ministry of Defense reported there were more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than for the British military... how can we defeat an enemy if we’re worried about what to call it?"

Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference - "Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November... A bogus research paper reading only “Get me off Your Fucking Mailing List” repeated over and over again was accepted by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, an open-access academic journal, in November 2014."
What does Alan Sokal think about this?

'Nobody calls it Czechia': Czech Republic's new name fails to catch on - "“I like the name Czech Republic because it sounds non-racial,” said Jana Stejskalova, an obstetrician gynaecologist originally from Moravia. “Czechia sounds too eastern. It’s not a good sound for a western country.” Eliska Cmejrkova, a Czech language teacher to Prague’s large foreign expatriate community, said calling the country Czechia could be justified historically but would be unlikely to stick. “Czechia makes some sense historically but the common people will call it the Czech Republic,” she said. “You cannot change a language by law; it’s like a living organism. Only linguists and nationalists care about this. When I talk about Czechia with my friends, we make fun of it and never us it.”"

Judge John McKeon blasted for sentence in incest case - "A judge who imposed a 60-day jail sentence plus probation on a Montana man who repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter has become the latest jurist to face the wrath of the public for his actions on the bench. More than 30,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the impeachment of District Judge John McKeon, whose sentence -- with credit for time served -- means the man could spend a total 43 days in jail for his crime. "No one spoke on behalf of the 12-year-old child at trial," the petition says. "It is time to start punishing the judges who let these monsters walk our streets."
The prosecution recommended a 25-year prison term for the man, who pleaded guilty over the summer to a felony count of incest as part of a deal that dismissed two additional counts of the same crime, according to court documents. McKeon instead imposed a suspended 30-year prison sentence, which the man will not serve if he successfully completes probation -- including a community-based sex offender treatment program and no unsupervised contact with minors... McKeon did not return a call seeking comment but he defended his decision in a statement issued last week, citing the plea agreement, state law as well as the testimony of a clinical social worker and relatives of the victim. In the statement, as well as in his judgment, McKeon wrote that longtime sex offender treatment specialist Michael Sullivan recommended community based treatment on grounds the man was at low risk to repeat his crime, according to CNN affiliate KTVQ. Based on Sullivan's testimony, treatment within the community in this case afforded "a better opportunity for rehabilitation" and "for the ultimate protection of the victim," the judge wrote. A state exception to mandatory sentencing policies is meant "to encourage and provide opportunities for an offender's self-improvement, rehabilitation and reintegration back into a community."
McKeon also cited statements from the victim's mother and maternal grandmother."
If you impeach every judge who makes a ruling you dislike, why have judges? Just crowdsource every case

How a Quest by Elites Is Driving ‘Brexit’ and Trump - NYTimes.com - "There was a trade-off between equality and maximizing income, a version of economic efficiency. Among the general American public, about half of those who played the game favored equality over efficiency. But the researchers also did the experiment at Yale Law School, an elite bastion filled with people who become Supreme Court clerks, White House aides and richly compensated lawyers. Among the Yale students who played the game, 80 percent preferred efficiency to equality. They were more worried about the size of the pie, apparently, than making sure everyone got a slice... To economists, 53,700 jobs churned each year is a small cost to be paid for a richer overall economy. To people who are among those 53,700, the pain may be enough to drive someone’s niece to vote for an antitrade candidate 30 years later... If there is one crucial lesson from the success of Mr. Trump and Brexit, it is that dynamism and efficiency sound a lot better to people who are confident they’ll always end up being winners."

Trump, Obama and the Assault on Political Correctness - The New York Times - "68 percent agreed that political correctness was a big problem, including 62 percent of self-identified Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. These views cut across racial lines. Seventy-two percent of whites and 61 percent of nonwhites (mostly African-American and Hispanic) describe political correctness as a big problem. A Rasmussen poll in August found that 71 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed agreed with the statement that political correctness was “a problem in America today.” This poll data indicates that even members of racial and ethnic minorities who are protected by speech codes as well as by the suppression of offensive language are hostile to political correctness... President Obama has been prescient in his critiques of political correctness, but his remarks have been empathetic rather than hostile and have done little to defuse the issue... Obama was more explicit in his criticism of political correctness on the nation’s campuses in a speech at the North High School in Des Moines:
'I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views'...
The Fairleigh-Dickenson poll suggests that liberals who seek to defend speech codes and trigger warnings, especially in schools and colleges, have ventured onto politically hazardous terrain."

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy - "The cartel’s grip on the lightbulb market lasted only into the 1930s. Its far more enduring legacy was to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb... In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence."

This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats

The idea that gender is a spectrum is a new gender prison - "their identity as ‘non-binary person’ depends upon the existence of a much larger group of so-called binary ‘cisgender’ people, people who are incapable of being outside the arbitrary masculine/feminine genders dictated by society.And here we have an irony about some people insisting that they and a handful of their fellow gender revolutionaries are non-binary: in doing so, they create a false binary between those who conform to the gender norms associated with their sex, and those who do not. In reality, everybody is non-binary... to call oneself non-binary is in fact to create a new false binary. It also often seems to involve, at least implicitly, placing oneself on the more complex and interesting side of that binary, enabling the non-binary person to claim to be both misunderstood and politically oppressed by the binary cisgender people... Once we assert that the problem with gender is that we currently recognise only two of them, the obvious question to ask is: how many genders would we have to recognise in order not to be oppressive? Just how many possible gender identities are there? The only consistent answer to this is: 7 billion, give or take... They are for people who aren’t sure what they identify as, but know that they aren’t cisgender. Presumably because they are far too interesting and revolutionary and transgressive for something as ordinary and conventional as cis... The logical conclusion of all this is: if gender is a spectrum, not a binary, then everyone is trans. Or alternatively, there are no trans people"
A feminist critique of Special Snowflake Gender Theory

British army causes butthurt over picture posted on Twitter
To be non-racist the British army should stop using camouflage cream. Then the Russians can invade and kill everyone

Guy pretended to be a woman to win student position designated for women - "An Australian student by the name Alex Fitton, a member of the liberal party (Australia’s right wing party), became general secretary of the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council on Wednesday night after he decided to identify as a woman. His sudden change in gender was a ploy to win a $12,000 executive position in the student election... The school SRC had recently introduced new laws that stipulate that the coveted council position can be shared by two people, but only if one of them identifies as a woman or a non-cisgender male"

Reformed Thai porn star Nong Nat says Buddhism, prayer helped land millionaire husband - "She stirred controversy in the 2000s by appearing in black market videos that were distributed throughout Thailand, including Tokyo Hunter and Asian Heart. The Asian beauty was prosecuted for appearing in the productions, which breach Thailand's anti-pornography laws... 'I used to be a Christian but I've been a Buddhist since I was about 21 years old,' she said... As a reformed porn star, the devotee of Buddhism still finds time to post images of herself in swimsuits to her 221,000 followers on Instagram."

The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth (Sweden and Refugees)

The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth

"The system worked — or at least that was the Swedish consensus... “When the Bosnians came,” she pointed out, “people thought they would bring their war to the Swedish suburbs. There were neo-Nazis marching in the streets. The economy was at the lowest point since the 1930s.” Nowadays, she says, the Bosnians “are ministers in our government, they’re our doctors, our neighbors.” Swedes feel especially proud that they have so successfully integrated a Muslim population. Pelling was confident that the new wave of Syrians, Iraqis, and the like would do just as well. It seemed almost impolite to point out that, on average, the Bosnians were better educated than the newcomers are, and practice a more moderate version of Islam.

Sweden is the only country I have spent time in where the average person seems to be more idealistic than I am...

The past may be a poor guide to the present. The 160,000 asylum-seekers who came to Sweden last year is double the number it has ever accepted before. I met many critics who were prepared to raise impolite questions about whether Sweden could afford to lavish generous benefits on so large a population, whether it could integrate so many new arrivals with low levels of skills, whether a progressive and extremely secular country could socialize a generation of conservative Muslim newcomers. And that was before Cologne.

Diana Janse, a former diplomat and now the senior foreign policy advisor to the Moderate Party (which Swedes view as “conservative”), pointed out to me that some recent generations of Swedish refugees, including Somalis, had been notably unsuccessful joining the job market. How, she wondered, will the 10,000-20,000 young Afghan men who had entered Sweden as “unaccompanied minors” fare? How would they behave in the virtual absence of young Afghan women? But she could barely raise these questions in political debate. “We have this expression in Swedish, asiktskorridor,” she said. “It means ‘opinion corridor’ — the views you can’t move outside of.” Merely to ask whether Sweden could integrate Afghans today as it had Bosnians two decades before was to risk accusations of racism...

The Migration Agency accepts applications from thousands of people from Eritrea, a nation that is autocratic but currently peaceful. When I asked Pierre Karatzian, a spokesman for the Migration Agency, why Eritreans qualified, he said that many Eritreans flee the country rather than face the draft; if Sweden returns them, they will face arrest. This, however, permits the authoritarian Eritrean government to play a cynical game in which they let citizens flee and then demand that they pay a tax on their relatively lavish earnings abroad — a kind of involuntary remittance. (I was told that Eritrean embassies track down citizens abroad and demand payment.) The system guarantees a perpetual flow of Eritreans...

Sweden provides asylum to virtually anyone who arrives as an unaccompanied minor. Some of them, however, were certainly not minors. Since they arrived without documents, officials simply accepted their word for their age. Denmark, among others, mandates age-testing, a somewhat rough-and-ready system using measurements of bone density. In Sweden, however, doctors have largely refused to apply the test, arguing that it is inexact and that, in any case, such tests constitute an invasion of privacy. Andersson said to me that a “minor” who looks to be 30 or so will be told, “You cannot share a room with the boys. You have to go to the Migration Agency and find a [new] room with them.”

Back at the Red Cross station, opinion was surprisingly anti-refugee, including among volunteers. The translator said that he did not believe many of the new arrivals would ever be able to integrate into Sweden’s liberal, individualistic society. A border policeman told me, “Last summer, my grandmother almost starved to death in the hospital, but the migrants get free food and medical care. I think a government’s job is to take care of its own people first, and then, if there’s anything left over, you help other people.” I had heard the same view a few months earlier in Hungary, the country in Europe most outspokenly hostile to refugees — the anti-Sweden. Europe has not experienced economic growth in almost a decade. One could hardly think of a worse moment to ask citizens to make sacrifices on behalf of outsiders. In the United States, where growth has been more robust, the fountain of charity has run dry as well.

I had, it turned out, arrived in Sweden at the very moment when the supply of goodwill was petering out. A poll in early November found that 41 percent of Swedes thought the country was taking too many refugees, up from 29 percent in September... When I said to Paula Bieler, a member of Parliament from the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrat party, that most Swedes seemed to welcome refugees, she rejoined, “Mostly the Swedes who haven’t met them. It’s the top politicians and journalists who live in the center of Stockholm.” That’s hyperbolic; Swedes have proved remarkably willing to accept a burden most other Europeans wish to shuck. Nevertheless, the intelligentsia generally view the refugees as a new contribution to Sweden’s tapestry of diversity, while ordinary Swedes may think in more prosaic terms.

The reaction against the refugees has put wind in the sails of the Sweden Democrats, as it has all over Europe. Far-right parties now rank first in polls in France, Switzerland, Austria, and elsewhere. A poll last August found that slightly more Swedes identified with the Sweden Democrats than any other. This has terrified both the ruling Social Democrats and the Moderates, who have forged a tight alliance in order to keep the Sweden Democrats from power...

Paula Bieler of the Sweden Democrats describes herself as a “nationalist” who fears that an increasingly multicultural Sweden is in danger of losing its identity — “the feeling that you live in a society that is also your home.” Bieler objects, not to immigrants themselves, but to the official state ideology of integration, which asks Swedes as well as newcomers to integrate into a world that celebrates diversity, and thus casts Sweden as a gorgeous mosaic. Are native Swedes to think of their own extraordinarily stable thousand-year-old culture as simply one among many national identities? Thomas Gur, a widely published critic of Sweden’s open-door policy, says that it is precisely this reaction that accounts for the popularity of the Sweden Democrats.

There are more visceral fears, which cannot be raised inside the opinion corridor. “You cannot talk about concepts like marriage, shame, honor,” says Gur. “You cannot talk about social trust.” The fear is that the recent generations of refugees have become isolated from Swedish life, as has happened with North Africans in the French banlieues, the slums that have become incubators of alienation for many North African immigrants. Gur says that 20 years ago, Sweden had just three residential areas where significant numbers of citizens did not work and did not have access to good schools — the indispensable instrument of social mobility in Sweden’s high-tech economy. That number, he says, has now reached 186. I visited several of these areas in Malmo, and they looked vastly cleaner, smaller, and safer than any American inner city. But for Sweden, it’s something new, and troubling.

What is certainly true is that refugees take far too long to join the workforce and remain unemployed in far larger numbers than native Swedes. Tino Sanandaji, an economist and critic of refugee policy whose work has become so controversial in the Swedish media that he asked me not to name his university, says while 82 percent of adult Swedes are in the workforce, only 52 percent of immigrants from non-Western countries are — a gap that has grown rapidly in recent years. (Since virtually all Swedish immigrants arrived as refugees, the two words are often used interchangeably.) While only one-fifth of Swedes fail to graduate from high school, the figure for immigrants is one-third. Sanandaji points out that the consequence for Sweden’s generous state is a sharp increase in welfare payments, 60 percent of which go to immigrants. Sanandaji predicts that the new refugees will have an even harder time adjusting than their immediate predecessors have. Despite widespread reports that Syrian refugees are drawn largely from the educated middle class, statistics compiled by the Swedish Migration Agency show that half the new arrivals do not have a high-school degree, and one-third have not progressed beyond ninth grade. The figures are yet higher for the Afghan unaccompanied minors.

An observation that is now taken for granted in the United States — that values matter, that they are transmitted culturally, that they can be only partly changed by social institutions — is treated in Sweden as a form of racism, as well as an implicit admission of failure...

Virtually everyone I spoke to on the pro-refugee side insisted that Sweden was not paying a price for its open-ended commitment to refugees, but rather gaining a benefit, albeit a long-term one. I often asked what this new generation of newcomers was going to do for work. Sweden has virtually no space for unskilled workers; I’ve never seen a more automated, do-it-yourself economy. (You don’t just check yourself in at the airport; you scan your own suitcase.) The answer was always the same: Sweden’s “aging population” would provide vast job opportunities in personal health care. Maybe that’s true, though old people in Sweden seem awfully self-sufficient. You can’t push someone’s wheelchair if they’re going to cross the street on their own...

The refugee issue has split Sweden’s genteel consensus as no other question has in recent memory. As Ivar Arpi, a columnist at the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and an inveterate critic of the country’s refugee policy, said to me, “People have lost friends over this; families are divided against one another. I’ve had agonizing discussions with my mother and my little sister.” It is very hard to find a middle ground between “we must” and “we can’t.”...

Since the right to 450 days of parental leave per child enshrined in Swedish laws also applies to women who arrive in the country with children under seven, refugees could qualify for several years’ worth of paid leave — even without working, since unemployed women also receive maternal benefits. She was convinced that Sweden needed to end the practice of giving Swedish social payments to refugees, not only because it was unaffordable, but because Sweden had no interest in out-bidding its neighbors to woo refugees.
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