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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Links - 14th August 2017 (2)

United Passenger "Removal": A Reporting and Management Fail - "Absence of reporting on airline regulations leads to widespread skewing of story in United’s favor. Even though most readers may think United is getting beaten up aplenty in the press, in fact it is getting a virtual free pass as far as its rights to remove a paying passenger with a confirmed seat who has been seated. This seems to reflect the deep internalization in America of deference to authority in the post 9/11 world, as well as reporters who appear to be insufficiently inquisitive. And there also seems to be a widespread perception that because it’s United’s plane, it can do what it sees fit. In fact, airlines are regulated and United is also bound to honor its own agreements. It is telling, in not a good way, that Naked Capitalism reader Uahsenaa found a better discussion of the legal issues on Reddit than Lambert and I have yet to see in the media and the blogosphere (including from sites that profess to be knowledgeable about aviation)... This in turn reveals the lack of any slack whatsoever in United’s system. Clearly the urgency was due to the four crew members somehow being late; Plan A had failed and the last minute boarding effort was Plan B or maybe even Plan C. As one experienced passenger said, “They can’t come up with four crew members in one of their biggest hubs?” It also is a symptom of a badly fragmented business system heavily dependent on contractors"

Meet the Malaysian Neo-Nazis Fighting for a Pure Malay Race - "Malay power is important because we're concerned about keeping a pure Malay community all over the Malay Archipelago [the archipelago between Australia and Southeast Asia, believed by some to be the homeland of the Malay race]. I'm a second-generation fighter for Malay power. The first generation, who founded the Malay-power movement, have been less active recently. Malay power stems from a point in history—the 13th of May, 1969—[when] the Chinese and Malay communities fought each other. However, the punk and skinhead Malay-power movement started in Kuala Lumpur in the early 90s... Ethnic Malays also fall prey to criminals who come from abroad and sell drugs and commit murder, rape, robbery, and so on. The lesson that we can learn from Naziism is that we can take extreme racist action if the position of the Malays is affected by these factors. We won't practice overt racism if the Malay race isn't compromised, but, if threatened, we will take action... We make minorities afraid to commit crime in Malaysia. We always warn them not to cause trouble here. Violence isn't a solution for us because we begin with discretion, tolerance, and politeness when talking to these immigrants. If they insist on continuing or if they are stubborn people, we will do what is necessary. We also do charity work for the community and for Palestine, Syria, Somalia, and other countries that are at war"

Professor raised under communism explains academics' love of socialism – and why they're wrong - "Curta grew up under the iron-fisted regime of Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu... I think that there’s an idealism that most people in academia, specifically in the humanities, share... No matter how you can prove that system doesn’t work, with an inclination to go that way perhaps because most people associate socialism with social justice, while the former is an ideology with concrete ideas and concrete historical experiences, while social justice is a very vague abstract notion... As my father used to say, it is so much easier to be a Marxist when you sip your coffee in Rive Gauche, left-bank Paris, than when living in an apartment under Ceaușescu, especially in the 1980s... I went through 20-plus years of school in the old country, under communism, for free, but I had no food on the table."

Cops or soldiers? - "Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams (ie, paramilitary police units) were first formed to deal with violent civil unrest and life-threatening situations: shoot-outs, rescuing hostages, serving high-risk warrants and entering barricaded buildings, for instance. Their mission has crept... Peter Kraska, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies, estimates that SWAT teams were deployed about 3,000 times in 1980 but are now used around 50,000 times a year. Some cities use them for routine patrols in high-crime areas. Baltimore and Dallas have used them to break up poker games. In 2010 New Haven, Connecticut sent a SWAT team to a bar suspected of serving under-age drinkers... The number of SWAT deployments soared even as violent crime fell. And although in recent years crime rates have risen in smaller American cities, Mr Kraska writes that the rise in small-town SWAT teams was driven not by need, but by fear of being left behind. Fred Leland, a police lieutenant in the small town of Walpole, Massachusetts, says that police departments in towns like his often invest in military-style kit because they “want to keep up” with larger forces... Because of a legal quirk, SWAT raids can be profitable. Rules on civil asset-forfeiture allow the police to seize anything which they can plausibly claim was the proceeds of a crime. Crucially, the property-owner need not be convicted of that crime. If the police find drugs in his house, they can take his cash and possibly the house, too. He must sue to get them back. Many police departments now depend on forfeiture for a fat chunk of their budgets... [there is] a perverse incentive for police to focus on drug-related crimes, which “come with a potential kickback to the police department”, rather than rape and murder investigations, which do not"
And yet it is more sexy to just chant Black Lives Matter than to look at real issues

Luxembourg Is Not A Microstate! - "it’s still bigger than Singapore, Andorra, Malta, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican combined!"

US amateur football team Washington Square FC sponsored by Porn site RedTube

The Science Behind Frixion Erasable Pens - "Forms that must be filled out with a ballpoint pen have always vexed writers prone to handwritten typos. But this all changed 10 years ago, when Frixion Ball pens were launched in Europe. These pens leave marks on the page that look just like those from an ordinary ballpoint pen—but flip the instrument around and rub your writing with the eraser, and the heat produced by that friction makes it disappear before your eyes."

‘The Restaurant Of Order Mistakes’ Employs Waiters With Dementia, And You Never Know What You’re Getting - "Food blogger Mizuho Kudo visited The Restaurant of Order Mistakes and had a blast. She originally ordered a hamburger but ended up having gyoza dumplings instead, but everything turned out to be unexpectedly delicious. Kudo also claimed that the waiters were full of smiles and seemed to be having tons of fun."

People Warned Me About Pickpockets In Barcelona. So I Made This… - "The result is this decoy wallet that has a couple of diabolical secrets hidden inside. This idea is just one of many in my ongoing project called Obvious Plant."

People Warned Me About Pickpockets In Barcelona. So I Made This…

Guy Becomes Best Friends With Celebrities By Photoshopping Himself Into Their Pics

Bookstore-Themed Tokyo Hotel Has 1,700 Books And Sleeping Shelves Next To Them - "Book and Bed Tokyo, a bookstore-themed hotel located on the seventh floor of a high-rise in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood"

World of Warcraft Pandaren reaches level 90 without leaving starting zone - "Because Doubleagent was determined not to side with either the Alliance or Horde factions, he's never been allowed to leave the Wandering Isle starting zone. This means he's spent the majority of his ascent to level 90 doing the grindiest grinding that has ever been grinded: picking herbs and mining. Apparently all this was worth it in the name of neutrality."

Dear “well-known Halal bakery”, you’ve just lost a talented cake decorator due to your discrimination - "
Comments: "Maybe they really encountered a lot of malays who are lazy and don't turn up for work? My mum runs her own business and it's so tough to get good Malay workers."
"The laziest person I'd ever known is a Chinese who is born to a lawyer and a businessperson. He claims being discriminated as a homosexual and having learning disability stops him from working, when actually all he does every day is to watch porn videos even at 'work' in his aunt's legal firm. And he has no university degree."


Caligula's ancient hideaways - "The imperial palace on Capri is where he spent his late adolescence (before coming to the throne in AD 37); he was the guest of his great-uncle, the morose emperor Tiberius, who had more or less abandoned Rome itself for his island hideaway. It was a place where many writers (including Bob Guccione and Gore Vidal in their Seventies Penthouse movie, Caligula) have speculated that Caligula was schooled in the dark arts of depravity. The Roman biographer, Suetonius, for example, tells stories of Tiberius on Capri having sadistic fun by filling his male guests with wine then putting ligatures around their penises so they could not urinate, and swimming in his pool with boys nicknamed “little fishes” who swam between his legs and nibbled his genitals"

Suetonius on Tiberius' Sex Life - "On retiring to Capri he devised a pleasance for his secret orgies: teams of wantons of both sexes, selected as experts in deviant intercourse and dubbed analists, copulated before him in triple unions to excite his flagging passions... Unweaned babies he would put to his organ as though to the breast, being by both nature and age rather fond of this form of satisfaction."

Roman emperors and women through the ages | Podcast | History Extra - "What Caligula's career demonstrates is that the power of the early emperors was an autocracy that was essentially moderated by fear of assassination"

Anglo-Saxon saints and British slave-owners | Podcast | History Extra - "They are in so many ways very similar people to the abolitionists. And sometimes there's a crossover. There's intermarriages within families, between families I should say of abolitionists and pro-slavers. There is agreement on lots of other issues. So Wilberforce and Hibbert disagree passionately about the morality of slavery but on many other issues they agree. One of the great oddities of British slavery is a great number of the slave owners are philanthropists. They're people who open schools and begin charities, doing exactly the sort of thing that do gooder evangelicals like Wilberforce really support. And so they have so much in common, they have so much in agreement... The belief in freedom, the belief that slavery has run its course, that i is no longer something that Britain can continue with clashes with this idea of property. If the slaves are property then for the government to take the slaves off the slaveowners is abhorrent. The only way they can do that is by compensating the slave owners...
That's only part of what the slave owners receive in compensation. The other compensation is further free labor. The slaves are forced under the abolition act to work for a further six years for no pay for their masters. To continue as it were in bondage paying off their value to their slave owners...
Some of the slave owners the records show were mixed race. They were the mixed race sons usually of plantation owners who had affairs with slaves. And as part of setting them up financially in life they'd given them some slave. There's clergyman, there's even abolitionists who owned slaves who were given compensation"

Food from the past and the history of illegitimacy | Podcast | History Extra - "The first time that illegitimacy was articulated in law was in the sixteenth century when the first poor law acts came out. And that's when illegitimacy started to have an economic effect on society because parishes were expected to pay for the upkeep not just of single mothers while they were confined and after they'd had their babies but of the babies themselves, of the bastards. And so I think that's really when the stigma began because society started to resent paying the wages of sin themselves I think. Before that it really wasn't too unusual that women got pregnant before they were married. In fact in many places in the country you were encouraged to try before you buy if you were thinking of marrying a woman so it wasn't unusual at all...
Nobody's really written about the role of single fathers before. They've been caricatured I guess in the history of illegitimacy as as the bad boys. As the one who got, the ones who got the girls into trouble. But it wasn't always the case. In fact it was rarely the case and I interviewed several men or came across the testimony of several men who were desperately sad that they had not been able to play a part in their illegitimate children's lives. Because it wasn't until 1959 that a natural father could have any say at all over his child. So if a mother for example was forced to get the child adopted or if she wanted to get the child adopted indeed and the father didn't, it didn't matter. The father had absolutely no say... Until nineteen fifty nine if you were pregnant underaged your family could commit you to an asylum. Not because you were mentally imbecilic as the terms were in the day but because you were morally imbecilic"

Ridley Scott's new Crusades film 'panders to Osama bin Laden' - "Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light... Academics, however - including Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - attacked the plot of Kingdom of Heaven, describing it as "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations"... The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct." Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense". He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics. "It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."... Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride. Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists." Amin Maalouf, the French historian and author of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, said: "It does not do any good to distort history, even if you believe you are distorting it in a good way. Cruelty was not on one side but on all." Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history.""

Episode 44: Operation Coldstore II: The Blame Game - "Operation Coldstore was set for 0200 on 16 December 1962. And it didn’t happen. At the last minute, Lee inserted fifteen opposition politicians not approved by Special Branch into the list. When the Tunku learnt of this, he erupted into fury and in turn refused to sanction the arrest of any Federation politicians. Selkirk, Lansdowne, and Federation security officers tried to convince either Lee to withdraw his names or the Tunku to accept them, but both refused to budge. The Tunku ‘took strong exception to Lee taking advantage of the operation in order to dispose of his political opponents. This he said was typical of Lee who was a thoroughly untrustworthy man. He added, “I cannot work with this fellow. I think we had better carry on with Malaysia without Singapore”.' The Tunku did not want accusations that he was also using the operation to rid himself of his opponents in the Federation. Selkirk felt Lee was ‘utterly unreasonable’ and could ‘put forward no convincing argument’ why the additional names should be included. Lee offered to back down if he could be absolved from any responsibility... When Selkirk pressed him about the fifteen names, Lee blamed Ong Pang Boon, saying they were ‘put forward by his Minister for Home Affairs and not by him.’ Leaving the British to sort out the situation, he fled for the Cameron Highlands and refused all further attempts to contact him until the New Year... An upset Moore tackled him on the inclusion of the names, pointing out that they were not communists and there were no grounds for arresting them. Lee did not dispute this. He admitted it was ‘to strengthen his own chances of political survival’"

Episode 45: The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Who is Lim Chin Siong? - "Chin Siong was feared by the British, by the Tunku, by Lee Kuan Yew. He was feared by the men who loom largest over our own history. Lee was obsessed with defeating Lim. The Tunku openly worried at Lim Chin Siong’s ‘frightening’ organisation abilities and talismanic presence. And he was so feared that they ended up changing the constitutional arrangements of four different territories: of the Federation, Singapore, North Borneo, and Sabah, in order to defeat him. It is not an exaggeration to say that Malaysia was created for the primary purpose of defeating Lim Chin Siong."

Episode 46: Selamat Hari Malaysia - "Tan told the British that ‘the only obstacle [in the way of an agreement] was Lee, and questioned whether it was necessary for him to be “there”’. He complained that ‘Lee was not amenable to reason… complete surrender or brute force were the only two things which Lee understood.’ Even Federation Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Razak, who saw himself as the last Federation leader to really try to get along with Lee, got so frustrated with Lee that on one occasion that he remarked, ‘While it was possible to negotiate with Goh Keng Swee, Lee Kuan Yew was impossible.’"

Episode 50: “Questions & Answers III” - "I realized that you know you seem to be a bit critical about Lee Kuan Yew. Is there gonna be like any legal action taken against you or like any repercussion on your take on Lee Kuan Yew?
Actually there already has been. I mean I used to work for the National University of Singapore and as my contract was coming to an end I was told that because of my work I was no longer welcome. I could no longer be employed at the University. Now of course all this was done informally, face to face meetings, phone calls so there's no paper trail. So you know of course I can't prove that I am black listed. But I have had enough of a reception, enough of feedback from the powers that be to have made very clear their displeasure. With regards to legal action I don't think so. Specifically legal action because everything I do is cited. I have plenty of evidence. I've stacks and stacks of evidence... For all Lee Kuan Yew's great achievements - and he had very great achievements, he was a very smart man, his character was not a surprise to people. Indeed it was celebrated as part of what made him so good, so effective, so brilliant... So to know that he did things like this, that he you know, enabled so much oppression even of those closest to him, that he stabs so many people in the back. People aren't surprised I think. What the, more surprising parts actually were the bits where Lee Kuan Yew acted with great cowardice. You know and that I think people actually had a lot more surprise at because the myth that's built up around him shows him, you know, to be brave and uncompromising but that wasn't the case in the fifties and sixties"

On Victimhood

"For a long time, maybe even since the stormy night of her eighth birthday and the frenzied palmetto beetle, she'd known that being a victim was often a choice that people made. As a child she hadn’t been able to put this insight into words, and she hadn’t known why so many people chose suffering; when older, she had recognized their self-hatred, masochism, weakness.

Not all or even most suffering is at the hands of fate but befalls us at our invitation.

She'd always chosen not to be victimized, to resist and fight back, to hold on to hope and dignity and faith in the future. But victimhood was seductive, a release from responsibility and caring. Fear would be transmuted into weary resignation, failure would no longer generate guilt but, instead, would spawn a comforting self-pity.

Now she trembled on an emotional high wire. not sure whether she would be able to keep her balance or would allow herself to fail and fall."

--- Intensity: A powerful thriller of violence and terror / Dean Koontz

Links - 14th August 2017 (1)

No Need to Be Afraid. It’s Only a Performance Review. - NYTimes.com - "we conflate what should really be three separate things: appreciation (I can see you — what you do matters), coaching (helping you get better through advice and mentoring) and evaluation (how you are rated or ranked against a set of standards). When we say we want feedback, most of us desire appreciation, dread evaluation and forget about the most important part, which is the coaching."

What You Learn in Your 40s - NYTimes.com - "There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently... When you’re wondering whether she’s his daughter or his girlfriend, she’s his girlfriend.
• When you’re unsure if it’s a woman or a man, it’s a woman."

There Is No Theory of Everything - The New York Times - "Frank’s special loathing was reserved for Freud, whom he thought a writer of great perceptiveness and expressive power but completely deluded about the theoretical consequences of his views. “Imagine a world in which, like ours,” Frank wrote in “Wittgenstein on Freud and Frazer,” “people laughed at jokes, but unlike ours did not know what they were laughing at until they discovered the unconscious energic processes hypothesized by Freud.” For Frank, such was the world that Freud beguiled himself and us into believing he was living in. He compared the 20th-century fascination with psychoanalysis to the 19th-century fascination with phrenology, the “science” of bumps on the head. I think he would have come to very similar conclusions about the early 21st-century fad for neuroscience and our insatiable obsession with the brain. Despite the astonishing breadth of his interests, Frank’s core obsession in teaching turned on the relation between science and the humanities. More particularly, his concern was with the relation between the causal explanations offered by science and the kinds of humanistic description we find, say, in the novels of Dickens or Dostoevsky, or in the sociological writings of Erving Goffman and David Riesman. His quest was to try and clarify the occasions when a scientific explanation was appropriate and when it was not, and we need instead a humanistic remark. His conviction was that our confusions about science and the humanities had wide-ranging and malign societal consequences... This is the risk of what some call “scientism” — the belief that natural science can explain everything, right down to the detail of our subjective and social lives"

Hearing Loss Costs Far More Than Ability to Hear - NYTimes.com - "those in the survey who had hearing aids were, on average, more socially active and less likely to be depressed, worried, paranoid or insecure, and their family members and friends were even more likely than they were to have noticed these benefits... Many who are hard of hearing don’t realize how distressing it is to family members, who typically report feeling frustrated, annoyed and sad as a consequence of communication difficulties and misunderstandings... Links have also been found to an increased risk of dementia... Untreated hearing loss can have physical consequences as well, including excessive fatigue, stress and headaches, which may result from trying so hard to hear and understand spoken language"

Italian Neighbors Build a Social Network, First Online, Then Off - NYTimes.com - "The idea, Italy’s first “social street,” has been such a success that it has caught on beyond Bologna and the narrow confines of Via Fondazza. There are 393 social streets in Europe, Brazil and New Zealand... the residents of Via Fondazza help one another fix broken appliances, run chores or recharge car batteries. They exchange train tickets and organize parties."

Are Men's Rooms Really Cleaner Than Women's Rooms? - "because so many germs live on the toilet seats of public restrooms, women’s restrooms are far more likely to have many more germs than a men’s restroom. This is a fact that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Women sit down to use the restroom, so they’re more likely to transfer germs to the toilet seat, then taking them with them when they leave... a study entitled: Enteric Bacterial Contamination of Public Restrooms sampled forty-seven public restrooms to test the presence of bacteria on various bathroom surfaces. The results show the areas most likely to contain bacteria. Here, we see the culprit is not only a woman’s toilet seat, but also the in-stall trash can or bin for disposing sanitary napkins. More concerning was the presence of coliform bacteria on more than 60% of sinks and ecoli on more than 20%. Women’s restrooms were 4.5 times more likely to contain ecoli, which can cause serious illness"

Women's bathrooms more germ-laden than men's - "researchers found that men are messier than women. They leave behind more paper towels, and men's rooms usually smells worse. There are apparently two reasons for the higher level of germs in the women's room. First, women tend to bring children into the bathroom with them, and children tend to bring in germs. Second, women's restrooms just get more traffic than men's rooms. Women use the bathroom more often and stay longer"
So contrary to what we popularly hear, men's toilets are indeed dirtier and smellier - they just don't have as much bacteria

Bathroom research reveals surprising data - "She also believes that women wash their hands more than men, which accounts for more bacteria in the sink area. "When you wash your hands, bacteria falls into the sink and it lasts longer than in other areas because the sink is moist"

What if the Labour party has not yet hit rock bottom? - "I have been discussing with several pro-Corbyn Labour members what they think Corbyn is going to achieve. Privately, they all admit that he cannot win a general election. For them it is a point of principle: They voted for Corbyn, MPs should accept that and work with him, they say, just the way Tony Blair expected it when he was in charge. For some reason, controlling a party in a powerless minority is more important than being in government."

Jeremy Corbyn: ‘People say I should be tougher. But it’s not my style’ - "A publisher friend told me about a boozy London dinner party with a group of leftwing stalwarts, including an academic, campaign organiser and film director. They went around the table giving Corbyn marks out of 10 for his performance so far. The lowest was two; the highest seven; the mean was around three. The only thing they were agreed on was that they would all vote for him again"

Murray Godfrey's answer to Democrats: Do people in your social/intellectual circles believe that President Obama is an honest person? - Quora - "Politicians cannot be "honest" for several reasons. For one, they don't know what exactly they may have to respond to, so it's impossible to be accurate in many cases. Then, they don't know what kind of negotiations they have to make. Third, they are not completely in control of the process. They may start a ball rolling, but things can happen at lower levels outside their control... We deal with lies all the time. People lie on their resumes on a regular basis. Companies lie about how good their business plan is and how beneficial their product is. We're sold lies about our country's history. Your significant other may have lied about how many sexual partners he/she's had. People lie. Commercials lie. Every day. Why is it so bad with politicians?... What I look for is if politicians compound their lies. Do they lie about lying and then lie about it? Bill Clinton was bad for that, and I never trusted that man."

PIERS MORGAN: Emma Watson wins most pompous person award - "‘Acting is about the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and that doesn’t have to be separated into two different categories,’ she declared in her speech. OK, so let’s now imagine this idea is taken to the main acting awards season, featuring the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes? First, there would be half as many awards, obviously. So half as many people would get recognised for their acting work as currently do. For many of the Hollywood luvvies I know, this would be a torture right up there with water-boarding. Second, what if by chance, men won the first five years of gender-neutral Best Actor awards simply because they genuinely happened to give better performances than the women in that period? Can you even begin to picture the global outrage that would ensure? Rabid feminists, led by the likes of Emma Watson, would stamp their feet and scream that the only reason men were winning was was…wait for it… ‘SEXISM!’ Madonna would immediately call for a march against this disgusting oppression of women. And Donald Trump would get the blame - because he’s Donald Trump. Last night, I noticed Ms Watson wore quite an eye-catching racy outfit to accept her gender-neutral award. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate if she had worn gender-neutral clothes? Or would that not, as she well knows, have garnered her the global media coverage that she so aggressively coverts with her body – as we saw when she recently went topless for Vanity Fair?... She played Belle in Beauty and the Beast... Why did she not demand Beauty be changed to Ugly? Wouldn’t that have been a far more empowering feminist message to those women less aesthetically gifted than Ms Watson?... Ms Watson told the MTV audience: ‘I’m so proud to be part of a film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy and love the way this one does.’ Sorry, WHAT? Beauty and the Beast is about a savage male beast who kidnaps a beautiful woman. She falls in love with him due to some weird Stockholm Syndrome type situation, forgives him for all his terrible behaviour, and then tries to make him a nicer person. So, she’s basically in an abusive relationship in which her only asset is her sexuality and the movie’s subliminal theme is therefore that if a woman is pretty and sweet natured she can change an abusive man into a kind and gentle man."

Public Library Reading Clubs and Singapore's Elderly - "Three themes emerge from the responses: an instrumental view of reading or, in other words, a notion that reading is done for utilitarian purposes rather than intrinsic enjoyment; gender issues, in so far as club membership appears to have created a public space for elderly women, but not men; and social exclusion in that word of mouth is the main way that people learn about the club, and that its members appeared to be from a specific socio-economic group."

Flight too full, so captain allows young woman to sit in cockpit on Cathay Pacific flight

Teachers learn to use math as Trojan horse for social justice - "This summer, middle school math teachers can learn how to incorporate social justice issues like racism and privilege into their classrooms. “Teaching Social Justice through Secondary Mathematics” is a six-week online course designed by Teach for America and offered through EdX, which provides free online classes from top universities such as Harvard University, MIT, and Columbia University... According to the website, the course can even help students to learn math, because while many aspects of middle- and high-school math “can seem abstract to students,” the developers claim that “setting the mathematics within a specially-developed social justice framework can help students realize the power and meaning of both the data and social justice concerns.”"
The SJW infection of STEM continues apace

Reversing ageing: Are we smothering seniors into helplessness? - "artist Harry Chin, 75, who had a mild stroke three years ago, has taken to only going out to paint if his assistant is with him. For his challenge, he’s made to walk for over an hour to the Botanic Gardens, carrying his own equipment. He says afterwards: “I felt like my old self has returned. I was filled with vitality.""

I Said 'Yes' to Everything for a Week and Ended Up in the Hospital - ""You're always so negative," she fumed. "Give it a chance." Honestly, I don't think very highly of folks who consider a round of board games entertaining. But on some level, she had a point. Maybe I do need to be more positive? Maybe I ought to try new things? So, in the spirit of adventure, I decided that I'd spend a week saying "Yes" to every question I was asked... I noticed that my urine was a very strange color. I immediately hobbled towards my doctor to find out if I was falling apart. "You have rhabdomyolysis," she explained. "That means your muscle tissue is breaking down. What did you do to yourself?" "I did a trial CrossFit session.""

Spreadsheets are people too: statistics and reality - "spreadsheets – or at least the ones used by labour market economists and, indeed, quantitative social scientists more broadly, are far more closely connected to the “real world” than any individuals’ experience can hope to be."
Anecdotes are only relied upon when they support one's point

Why I won’t date hot women anymore - "He spent the better part of his 30s going on up to three dates a week, courting 20-something blond models, but eventually realized that dating the prettiest young things had its drawbacks — he found them flighty, selfish and vapid. “Beautiful women who get a fair amount of attention get full of themselves,” he says. “Eventually, I was dreading getting dinner with them because they couldn’t carry a conversation.” According to new research, Rochkind’s ideas about sexy bikini babes are correct. A multipart study from Harvard University, University of La Verne and Santa Clara University researchers found that beautiful people are more likely to be involved in unstable relationships. In one part, the researchers looked at the top 20 actresses on IMDb and found that they tend to have rocky marriages. In another, women were asked to judge the attractiveness of 238 men based on their high school yearbook photos from 30 years ago. The men who were judged to be the best-looking had higher rates of divorce... “There’s something to be said about sowing your wild oats and getting them out of your system,” says Rochkind, who will marry Carly in June at a “Tuscan-romantic” ceremony at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons. But he doesn’t regret his past. “You don’t want to be the first to leave the party, but you don’t want to leave the party too late either,” he says. “Carly came at exactly the right time.”"

Singapore aggressively markets its heritage, but it’s letting an authentic piece of cultural history vanish - "Most things don’t last very long in the ever-changing city-state of Singapore, but the Sungei Road Thieves’ Market has a history that can be traced back to the 1930s. It’s survived the Japanese Occupation, the decline of the British colonial era, and waves of development following Singapore’s independence. Yet Singapore’s love for urban renewal has finally caught up with one of the island’s last free-wheeling grassroots enterprises... “This market is very meaningful for Singapore. It doesn’t discriminate based on race or religion, and there’s a lot of cross-cultural interaction,” says Koh, who has hawked secondhand goods here for three decades. “We should be proud Singapore has such a space… If removed, it can’t be reproduced.” The market is one of the most prominent examples of an informal economy in Singapore, says Chua, because there are no rental costs and vendors aren’t required to have have permits. “In Singapore, where it’s so structured and everything has to be institutionalised, this is something special,” says Chua. Led by Koh, some of the market’s 160 vendors have formed the Association for the Recycling of Secondhand Goods to advocate for relocation together... Singapore’s National Heritage Board has said it will document vendors’ memories and recreate the Thieves’ Market online in the form of a virtual tour."

CARONA CHICKEN: PAST AND PRESENT - "Carona’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice was founded in 1982 with a stall at the then Victoria Street Food Centre. Due to the popularity of their wings, the business name and recipe were then sold to a company that changed its name to Carona Chicken. Not only did they open their flagship Carona Marina Restaurant in 1992, they also started to franchise the brand, Carona Chicken. As a result, many Carona outlets began to mushroom islandwide, and this inevitably led to a significant drop in their standards. The eventual demise of the brand was also caused by both the shrinkage in serving portion as well as the increase in pricing... The good news is that the original recipe for Carona Fired Chicken Wings can still be found at 2 different stalls. The original owner of Carona’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice has started Victor’s Fried Chicken Wing Rice & Hainanese Chicken Rice. Two Wings is the other fancier stall selling Carona style fried chicken wing started by Jeremy, whose granduncle created the recipe."

Are Kids Racist? - "White children often learn very quickly, that simple questions or comments about these observations are shut down, stopped, and hushed with incredible velocity. Children become aware that this topic must be important because unlike their other questions, these ones go unanswered and leave their parents with looks of worry. As evidence, Rebecca Bigler and her colleagues at UT-Austin found that nearly all White mothers in their research study adopted a “colormute”/ “colorblind” approach when discussing a book that was either directly or indirectly about race with their 4-5 year old children; most chose not to discuss race at all. (In case you wonder why I’m focusing on White parents here, previous work has demonstrated that as opposed to White parents, parents of minority children in the U.S., do talk about race and ethnicity quite regularly.)... even if parents are not talking about race, children are noticing it, so avoidance will not make it go away"

Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions - "This paper examines whether house demolitions are an effective counterterrorism tactic against suicide terrorism. We link original longitudinal micro-level data on houses demolished by the Israeli Defense Forces with data on the universe of suicide attacks against Israeli targets. By exploiting spatial and time variation in house demolitions and suicide terror attacks during the second Palestinian uprising, we show that punitive house demolitions (those targeting Palestinian suicide terrorists and terror operatives) cause an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks. The effect dissipates over time and by geographic distance. In contrast, we observe that precautionary house demolitions (demolitions justified by the location of the house but not related to the identity or any action of the house's owner) cause a significant increase in the number of suicide terror attacks. The results are consistent with the view that selective violence is an effective tool to combat terrorist groups, whereas indiscriminate violence backfires"

Strong support for death penalty but support declines under different circumstances: Singapore study - "Seven in 10 people were in favour of the death penalty, a level of support similar to what an October survey of 1,160 people by government feedback arm Reach found... 92 per cent said they are in favour of the death penalty for intentional murder, 86 per cent for drug trafficking, and 88 per cent for discharging a firearm... Older Singaporeans and those who are more highly-educated are more likely to support the death penalty in general. The support also varied across religions, with Chinese Taoists and Buddhists twice as likely to support the death penalty as Protestant Christians, and Protestant Christians twice as likely to support the death penalty as Catholics."
Liberals should bash Christians less because of this

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Observations - 13th August 2017

"Who can refute a sneer?" - William Paley

***

Don't teach your children not to get into cars with strangers, teach people not to kidnap children

"I think this is the greatest flaw in feminist thinking, that in order to achieve their ideal of the perfect woman, one has to give up her femininity and become a man. That's ridiculous."

"Women used to cook like their mothers, now they drink like their fathers."

"now I know why feminists find it easy to believe in male privilege- they take their observations of men being less neurotic and chill as evidence for them having easier lives"
"actually its worse because a lot of the time that men have to worry/ be gancheong/ be involved, it is due to issues created by women"

A feminist told me, about the gender gap in university enrolment, that if women could overcome patriarchy and be overrepresented in universities there was something wrong with men. So much for feminism being for men. If you start with feminist assumptions you will end up with feminist conclusions

Since we evaluate female beauty contest participants on their character and intelligence, why don't we evaluate female CEOs on their looks?

If married mums getting more benefits than single ones is discrimination, the Pioneer Generation Package is also discrimination

If it's okay to breastfeed in an MRT train, why can't diabetics eat and drink? A fussy baby is less important than a potential health emergency

"for some reason [women] still prefer having [a period] instead of using some technological intervention to mitigate or remove it entirely
So after a while I suspect it boils down to needing something to make noise about"

"saying that someone choosing to do sex work somehow cheapens sex . . . makes as much sense as saying someone eating a donut around you will ruin your diet"

"in my white male privilege patriarchal mansplainer experience, a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man is more often than not a woman who can't get a man, or at least a desirable man."

Why celebrate body positivity, i.e. being fat, but not being ugly?

"The fastest way for a man to find out what needs to be done around the house is to try to take a nap. His wife sure come and kpkb"
"i think women evolved to feel unsettled if they see a man not doing anything"


If prepubescent kids can consent to taking hormone blockers which have health implications why can't adolescents consent to sex?

If essentialism is so bad, why assume that gender (or other) diversity inevitably brings benefits through diverse points of view?

If a restaurant refuses to cook Kosher food for a Jewish customer, is it discriminating against Jews?

"9/11 was nothing compared to the horror of a Ten Commandments display."

Pundits say it's problematic when people don't trust the media, or they think it's lying. But what if it really is?

"377A activists capitalise on convincing gay people they are at risk of getting lynched at any moment"

"To be an 'ally' increasingly seems to mean capitulating in surrender to people who hate you for being born."
"Before you do that, transfer money, resources and status now."

"When burning witches doesn't stop the drought, that means witch magic is very powerful and more witches need to be burnt."

"The difficulty with liberation movements is they don't have a "sunset clause". They all start as vital responses to archaic behaviours and attitudes but they inevitability pass their usefulness boundary and end up going "full retard"."

If you punch a fascist and he punches you back, can you play the victim?

Amused by people blaming the Quebec mosque shooting on Trump. Just like some people used to blame Obama for everything. Horseshoe theory...

If Trump's tweets make you commit violence, you're like men who rape women because they wear short skirts

If I buy travel insurance and someone steals my wallet when I'm abroad because I left it on a table, my claim will probably be rejected. Is that victim blaming?

In the past, asking someone about his religion was showing interest in it, trying to understand another culture, trying to engage him as a person etc. Today it's a microaggression

"i created a fb post for a bb cream with 'skin whitening' benefits
fb rejected my ad because their algorithm flagged 'skin whitening' as racism"

Is it discrimination to treat your child better than a random child you don't know halfway across the world?

[On Cuban exiles] "those who FLED were the exploiters of the country; subsequent swimmers were influenced by the greed of their relatives in Florida." - Ahh, Communist apologists!

Links - 13th August 2017 (2)

2111 Financing War | The History Network - "The Austrian government also wanted to tap into the financial resources of its nation's children so they released a child bond which was openly promoted through campaigns in schools. The initiative was immensely successful, enlisting funds and encouraging loyalty to the state in its future Austro-Hungarian youth."

2202 Clausewitz and Friction | The History Network - "'He sort of states the obvious'
'It's always something that bothered me with ancient military theory books. That there's a whole series of them in the Greek and Roman tradition that most people have never heard of or read. And if they've heard of them or read them they're not on the most popular reading book. But when you compare them to the Chinese tradition of Sun Tzu, and everyone reads those but again they are common sense. You know when the enemy retreats, advance. When the enemy advances, retreat. When the enemy stops, attack. Like okay in the Eastern tradition there's that weird sense that there's something deeper in that and you nod your head and sagely go wow yeah. Whereas if a westerner in the ancient world says that it's like well duh'...
'You got that guy famously this, I think the civil servant during the Falklands War who purposefully delivered everything in a flat boring monotone way for the simple fact that then it was not soundbyetable, it was very difficult to interpret. It is not meant to be remembered. As opposed to you know: 'war is not an independent phenomenon but a continuation of politics by different means' which is hugely memorable'...
'When the Roman legion fought the Greek phalanx, the Roman legionaries didn't understand that when, when a pikeman put his pike directly vertically into the air, he was surrendering. But they hadn't fought pikemen before so therefore they stabbed them all'

Why should we learn about Medieval Warfare? - Episode 1 of the Medieval Warfare Podcast - Karwansaray Publishers Blog - "It is so appealing. It, visually appealing. It's exciting. We all grew up as Dan said earlier you know playing with the castle legos you know all that stuff hell yeah. Watching game thrones which is totally awesome and the Battle of Bastards was cool. That stuff appeals to us popularly, appeals to us individually and so it becomes such a useful medium to kind of turn, you know they're already interested in this, they're engaged in it. Very easy to turn them from that into okay now let's grapple with this stuff in a more historical way. That would be much harder for instance than saying you know what let's talk about what a medieval table actually really looked like. Let's talk about that, what did a medieval fork look like. You know and let's use that as a way of kind of looking at our assumptions. Nobody's going to care, I'm already bored talking about it. But if instead we talk about a battle in war and yeah there's knights and stuff and arrows and all my gosh and this and a storm of arrows and that actually didn't really ever happen but whatever. You know. We can, it is just so much more appealing that way. And they pay us to do it
I never understood the fashion about looking at how ordinary people lived

2209 The bayonet | The History Network - "If an infantry soldier fires the rifle at an enemy combatant what are the odds he will kill the opponent? The objective answer is: very nearly zero. As records show nearly one hundred thousand rounds are expended in modern times for every enemy to accomplish the kill. At least that is for US forces. Then we might ask what are the odds of a kill if the soldier stabs his opponent with a bayonet? Very nearly the answer would be certainly as the typically stuck soldier has bled out in two minutes max

2210 Burma 1944-45 | The History Network - "The Japanese were not natural born jungle fighters. There are no jungles in Japan. The Japanese had training and experience on their side and nothing more. Events would prove that East African troops were more at home in the jungle and were believed to have greater resistance to certain tropical diseases than their opponents or their European officers

Man convicted of rape after woman's dream acquitted in re-trial - "More than 28 years after his original conviction, Clarence Moses-El is a free man after a Denver court acquitted him on charges of rape... The re-trial sparked after L.C. Jackson, who is serving time for two other rapes, confessed to Moses-El in prison... Initially, when speaking to police, the victim named Jackson as her assailant, but reportedly changed her story after seeing Moses-El's face in a dream"

Ritual human sacrifice promoted and sustained the evolution of stratified societies - "We find strong support for models in which human sacrifice stabilizes social stratification once stratification has arisen, and promotes a shift to strictly inherited class systems. Whilst evolutionary theories of religion have focused on the functionality of prosocial and moral beliefs, our results reveal a darker link between religion and the evolution of modern hierarchical societies"

Davao City village bans gossiping - "the purpose of the ordinance is to help maintain peace and order among families and neighbors "as proven to be spreading lies are fined and required to render community service.""

Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment - "Educational attainment is strongly influenced by social and other environmental factors, but genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals"
Those who criticise the genetic basis for IQ claim we don't know the genes for IQ. But we don't know those for height either. And yet we have found those linked to educational level

Genetics affects choice of academic subjects as well as achievement - "choosing to do A-levels and the choice of subjects show substantial genetic influence, as does performance after two years studying the chosen subjects"

Deceptive curcumin offers cautionary tale for chemists - "Commonly used drug screens detect whether a chemical latches on to a binding site of a protein implicated in disease — a hint that it may be the starting point for a drug. But some molecules, such as curcumin, seem to show such specific activity when there is none."

Scientists can publish their best work at any age - "the most highly-cited were equally likely to be found at the beginning, middle or end of the sequence... This might seem to conflict with the well-documented finding that big discoveries and high-impact work tend to happen early in a scientist’s career. But there’s no contradiction, because the new work also shows that productivity — the number of papers produced per year — tends to slowly decline over a typical career. A scientist’s chance of securing a ‘greatest hit’ accordingly decreases over time, simply because they have fewer shots at it... the probability that any particular paper will be a hit. This depends on only two factors, they argue: an element of luck, and a certain quality, or Q factor, that measures an individual scientist’s ability to boost the impact of any project... The researchers anticipated that Q would increase over the course of a scientific career, as an individual becomes more experienced. To their surprise, they found that it remains mostly constant. That’s shocking because it seems to imply that Q — the multiplier that makes someone capable of capitalizing on luck to produce a big hit — is a quality that a scientist brings to their work at the outset, and which they cannot easily change thereafter."

Police dog gets new job after being fired for being too friendly - "Gavel, a German shepherd, was not cut out for a life of fighting crime because he “did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line.”... Gavel apparently was too sociable and loved greeting strangers. However, what he lacked in crime-fighting ability also happened to make him a perfect companion for the governor of Queensland, Paul de Jersey AC."

Lord Buckethead, Elmo and Mr Fishfinger: a very British election - "Among those to have raised the most eyebrows is Lord Buckethead, who appeared alongside Theresa May on the podium as results were read out for the Maidenhead constituency. Buckethead, a self-described “intergalactic space lord” whose real name is unknown, won 249 votes in the Berkshire contest. It is not the first time Buckethead has stood against a prime minister – a candidate with the same name took on Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and lost with just 131 votes. He also stood against John Major in 1992... While most British people are used to a varied range of candidates, mostly due to the advent of the oddball Monster Raving Loony party, election watchers from further afield were fascinated... Underlining the British penchant for unorthodox candidates, Buckethead was joined in the Maidenhead vote by Elmo, who got three votes, and Howling “Laud” Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party (119 votes)... the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, had to contend with a slippery rival in Cumbria’s Westmorland and Lonsdale. Farron held on to his seat with a reduced majority of 777. Adding insult to injury, he was upstaged during his victory speech by Mr Fishfinger, a man dressed as a piece of frozen food. Fishfinger, who changed his name by deed poll to take part in the election, decided to run after an informal Twitter poll found users would rather be led by a fish finger than Farron. He got 309 votes"

The Greek word that can’t be translated - "‘Love of honour’, its official translation, is a utilitarian yet insufficient attempt to convey the constellation of virtues squeezed into the word’s four syllables."

Why Disney princesses and ‘princess culture’ are bad for girls - The Washington Post - "1. The more the girls in the study engaged with princess culture, the more they behaved in stereotypically feminine ways.
2. Girls with a lower body image when the study began tended to be more interested in princess culture a year later.
3. There was no evidence that the girls’ engagement with princess culture influenced girls’ behavior for the better. Princesses’ potential as positive, prosocial role models is limited...
engaging with princess culture seemed to have positive effects on boys, counterbalancing some of the stereotypically aggressive messages found in media targeting male children. And it found that viewing princess films did not seem to harm girls’ body image during the one-year time frame researchers tracked. They found that most girls had “very positive” body images at the study’s beginning and conclusion alike. This may come as a relief to parents worried about the idealized, homogeneous and largely unattainable body type of Disney’s princesses... Another confusing finding: The authors found that girls were more stereotypically feminine in their behavior (considered a negative outcome of princess culture) if their parents reported talking about media with them"
This seems to suffer form the classic omitted variable bias problem. Indeed the omitted variables could explain the positive and "confusing" findings

The unexpected way Disney princesses affect little boys - The Washington Post - "Heavy exposure to Disney princess culture correlated with more female-stereotypical behavior in both sexes a year later. Although that created potentially problematic behavior in girls — relegating them to playing with toys in the "girl aisle" — it had a moderating effect on boys, such as making them more helpful with classmates. The study of nearly 200 kids found nearly all of them knew about Disney princesses: 96 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys had consumed some form of princess-centric media. Gender differences opened wide, though, when it came to who actually played with the toys. Sixty-one percent of the girls interacted with the merchandise once per week, compared with 4 percent of the boys... Neither gender showed signs of lower self-esteem or negative body image."
Apparently it's good for boys to be like girls, but not for girls to be like girls. Anyway maybe many of the boys will grow up to be gay, so there's no causal effect of the princesses

Princeton Freshman: They’re Training Us To Hate Each Other - "Princeton has become "disturbingly homogenous" in its political leanings from faculty and students, citing political correctness and walk-outs from non-progressive speakers on campus. In addition, she mentions how professors and students openly referred to Donald Trump supporters as "uneducated bigots" and said anyone who opposed Hillary Clinton is sexist"

The principled, left-wing case against multiculturalism - "he was commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights to determine the best methods for increasing political participation among immigrant groups in Europe. Having studied the empirical data, he discovered that the separate-but-equal model of a pluralist, multicultural society was less effective at encouraging political participation among immigrant groups than a more classically liberal approach, whereby immigrants are invited to participate in public life on equal terms, as citizens... the multicultural view of immigrants doesn’t treat them as individuals who have a basic human need for self-determination; rather, ‘the immigrant’ is an abstract type, a species, a race. Thus the racist implications of multiculturalism loom large despite its ostensible anti-racism. The ‘other’ is presented as either inherently fascinating or as a fragile victim. They are not like us. And in this separation of us from them, racism festers, explains Adamson. After all, the idea of diversity rests on the belief that immigrants are different to us, that their difference should be the object of celebration and adulation. Accordingly, the universalism and inclusivity of the civil-rights movement appears to the ardent multiculturalist as an embarrassing form of ‘cultural imperialism’... annihilation of the other is acceptable, so long as the majority responsible for doing so is ethnic. We have to protect ‘their’ difference from us, it seems, but never the ethnic dissident’s individuality or ‘difference’ from their own cultural traditions. Adamson cites the example of Tasleem Begum from Bradford, who, after leaving her husband (from a forced marriage), was shot in the head by her brother-in-law. The brother-in-law’s sentence was commuted from murder to manslaughter on the grounds of ‘provocation’, stemming from the shame Begum had brought on her husband’s family’s honour."

Princeton Essay on "Check Your Privilege" Raises Legitimate Gripes - "All this has prompted something of an anti-anti-privilege backlash. You'll find no better example of that than Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang's diatribe in The Princeton Tory last month, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege."... In liberal spheres of debate—spheres that, as a student at an elite college, Fortgang must be familiar with—privilege can be a sort of scarlet letter. Gawker's tournament may have been intended as comedy, but it was not without insight. “Privilege: so sweet to have,” Hamilton Nolan wrote in the introduction. “But even sweeter to not have. Privilege has its benefits, but the lack of privilege confers that sweet, sweet moral superiority.” The bracket makes explicit the competitive nature of the today's debate about privilege. Everyone is checking everyone else's privilege, competing to be the least privileged person present—and, thus, the most authoritative on the subject of privilege. Privilege is stigmatized; hardship—or assumed hardship—becomes a badge of honor. Take, for example, the biographies of the students who run the popular tumblr “Check Your Privilege at the Door.” If the blog weren't so self-serious, I'd assume this was parody: “I am mixed race (white and Korean) and a lesbian. I also identify as fat and as an atheist. My privileges include white-passing privilege, cisgender privilege, class privilege and able-bodied privilege. I am an extrovert with low social skills.” Nothing about her personality, interests, or achievements—only where she stood in the Internet equivalent of my high school's sorting exercise. Mixed race: one step back. Fat: one step back. Cisgender: two steps forward. The real problem with the phrase "check your privilege"—aside from the fact that it reduces people to the sum of their characteristics—is that it has become a handicapping device. White male? Then what could you possibly know about racism or sexism? Calling out privilege often isn't intended to make someone consider his advantages in life so much as to dismiss his perspective. But I want to be able to discuss sexism or feminism with men, and I think their opinions are no less worthy or relevant for the fact that they are male. Similarly, anyone should be able to participate in a conversation about racism without being discounted or silenced on account of race."

Women in STEM and Gender Differences

Why Brilliant Girls Tend to Favor Non-STEM Careers

"Much of the “evidence” cited in support of discrimination does not actually demonstrate discrimination. For example, some gender gaps in funding and in graduate admissions have been conclusively shown to result, not from discrimination, but from the fact that women disproportionately apply in more competitive fields...

Lo and behold, there is not “pervasive evidence of” a gender gap in graduate enrollments, though there is a gap in some STEM fields. Completely consistent with the work by Su et al and by Wang et al, in nearly all fields that are about people, not only is there no gap disadvantaging women, there are actually more women than men! (Health, education, social and behavioral sciences, public administration, arts and humanities, and even biological sciences). The same report found that, overall, across all fields, the "gap" is in the "wrong" direction: 57 percent of enrollees in graduate programs are women.

Even if there is discrimination against women in these fields, it is not preventing women from entering those fields in droves. (Indeed, the logic of “gap = discrimination”—a logic I have repeatedly rejected but which runs rampant throughout the social sciences and general public—would have us believe there is widespread discrimination against men in most fields now)...

The list of social science victim groups is so long, that, most likely, almost all of us have been the target of discrimination or hostility at some point in our lives, rendering the question of whether some groups are more victimized than others muddier than it seems.

However equivocal the evidence for “bias” in the present may be as an explanation for the gender gap in STEM fields, there is ample evidence of bias. Scientific bias! Social scientists clearly "prefer" bias explanations over other, deeply important, scientifically rigorous, social developmental evidence...

The Moss-Racusin study [Ed: showing men are favored for a laboratory manager position] is, by conventional standards, the weakest of the studies. Its sample size is a fraction of that of the others. It studies a relatively minor situation (hiring lab managers). It was a single study (Su et al is a meta-analysis of scores of studies; Williams and Ceci reported five separate studies). In contrast to Wang et al, it only studied an event at a single time point; it did not follow people’s career trajectories.

This does not make Moss-Racusin et al a “bad” study; it is merely weaker on virtually all important scientific grounds than the others...

And yet, look at the citation counts. Others are citing the Moss-Racusin et al study out the wazoo. Now, Wang et al and Williams and Ceci came out later, so probably the most useful column is the last. Since 2015, the weaker Moss-Racusin study has been cited 50% more often than the other three combined! That means there are probably more papers citing the Moss-Racusin et al study and completely ignoring the other three, than there are papers citing even one of the other three! What kind of "science" are we, that so many "scientists" can get away with so systematically ignoring relevant data in our scientific journals?...

And that, gentle reader, is a gigantic scientific bias. It might even be beyond bias. Some might call it an “obsession” with discrimination and bias so severe that it is blinding many in our field to major findings regarding gender differences that contribute to preferences for different types of fields."


In other words, scientists prefer a weak study that allegedly demonstrates gender bias against women, rather than stronger ones that show why gender bias against women is unlikely (this exact same paper about hiring lab managers got thrown to me as an example of gender bias, and I got accused of cherry picking even though I had cited multiple studies including meta-analyses, against this one, single, solitary, relatively low powered study)


The Sticking Point: Why Men Still Outnumber Women in Science

"Back in 2005, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the gender wars were largely a thing of the past. The extreme blank slate view of earlier decades was losing its foothold as evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and common sense steadily eroded the Nurture-Only explanation of sex differences. The political correctness that peaked in the 1990s seemed to have relaxed to the point where you could discuss differences between the sexes without fear of the sky falling on your head. Sure, there were still some gender radicals out there. But they no longer had the kind of sway they had in earlier decades.

Or so one might have thought. But 2005 was the year we learned that there were still limits to what you can say about sex differences, and severe consequences for stepping over the line. For 2005 was the year that Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard University, was invited to give a speech at a Harvard conference on Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce...

One conference attendee, Nancy Hopkins, was so upset she stumbled out of the room, dizzy and nauseous...

A public debate staged soon after Summers' gaffe. The debaters were Harvard psychologists Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke. Spelke argued that the sex difference is 100% nurture; Pinker argued that nature and nurture both contribute, but focused on possible biological contributions...

Our commitment to the moral principle (“don’t discriminate”) should not be made dependent on the outcome of the empirical question. Otherwise, notes Pinker, if it turns out men and women aren’t biologically identical, we’ll then have to conclude that discriminating on the basis of sex is OK after all…or we'll have to suppress the facts. Neither of these options is desirable. And nor is either necessary...

Notes Spelke, there are no sex differences in any of these basic mathematical competencies among infants or young children. Any differences appear only later. This, she argues, contradicts the idea that the differences trace to biology. It suggests instead that they emerge only once the forces of socialization sink their claws into us.

Unfortunately, the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow. The fact that sex differences are absent in infancy doesn't rule out a genetic explanation. Many sex differences emerge only at puberty. Indeed, that’s an important part of the definition of puberty. Furthermore, when we look closely, the usual explanations for the math differences—stereotype threat, math anxiety, Barbie dolls that say "Maths class is tough!"—are difficult to sustain. If girls are led to believe that they’re worse than boys at math, why do they get better grades in math class at school? If stereotype threat and math anxiety undermine their test-taking abilities, why does this happen on tests of some skills but not others? Is there a stereotype that girls are better at mathematical calculation but that boys are better at mathematical reasoning? Probably not...

Lesbians have spatial abilities comparable to those of straight men, and gay men have verbal abilities comparable to those of straight women...

The greater variability of males than females is not unique to humans. It’s found in many species and for many traits. In other species, we don’t hesitate to attribute the pattern to biology. When we find the same pattern in humans, shouldn’t we attribute it to the same cause, rather than to an entirely unique cause that coincidentally replicates the pattern we see in other animals?...

Bias and sexism presumably exist in all fields, but this hasn't stopped a flood of women going into prestigious non-STEM fields, such as law, medicine, and veterinary science...

In 2004-2005, only 20% of applications for faculty positions in mathematics were from women; however, 28% of the candidates interviewed were women, and 32% of those offered jobs were women. This is the opposite of what we’d expect if anti-female bias were pervasive in STEM departments.

At the very least, people in the bias-and-barriers camp should concede that the evidence is inconclusive. But this in itself suggests that any bias must be relatively weak—after all, if there were strong and pervasive bias, we would presumably have unambiguous evidence of it by now."


I didn't know even in 2005 liberals got so offended they got physically sick.

This is a good illustration of how those who say biological factors play a part always acknowledge social ones, but their opponents insist on tabula rasa.

And also of how the cliched response of "stereotype threat" is problematic



Contra Grant On Exaggerated Differences
(this is a response to the Business School Professor in Organisational Psychology who dismissed the Google "anti diversity" memo)

"Suppose I wanted to convince you that men and women had physically identical bodies. I run studies on things like number of arms, number of kidneys, size of the pancreas, caliber of the aorta, whether the brain is in the head or the chest, et cetera. 90% of these come back identical – in fact, the only ones that don’t are a few outliers like “breast size” or “number of penises”. I conclude that men and women are mostly physically similar. I can even make a statistic like “men and women are physically the same in 78% of traits”...

Galpin investigated the percent of women in computer classes all around the world. Her number of 26% for the US is slightly higher than I usually hear, probably because it’s older (the percent women in computing has actually gone down over time!). The least sexist countries I can think of – Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, etc – all have somewhere around the same number (30%, 20%, and 24%, respectively). The most sexist countries do extremely well on this metric! The highest numbers on the chart are all from non-Western, non-First-World countries that do middling-to-poor on the Gender Development Index: Thailand with 55%, Guyana with 54%, Malaysia with 51%, Iran with 41%, Zimbabwe with 41%, and Mexico with 39%. Needless to say, Zimbabwe is not exactly famous for its deep commitment to gender equality...

In the year 1850, women were locked out of almost every major field, with a few exceptions like nursing and teaching... everyone says [Ed: about engineering] “Aha! I bet it’s because of negative stereotypes!”

This makes no sense. There were negative stereotypes about everything! Somebody has to explain why the equal and greater negative stereotypes against women in law, medicine, etc were completely powerless, yet for some reason the negative stereotypes in engineering were the ones that took hold and prevented women from succeeding there...

The same patterns apply through pretty much every First World country...

Whenever I ask this question, I get something like “engineering and computer science are two of the highest-paying, highest-status jobs, so of course men would try to keep women out of them, in order to maintain their supremacy”. But I notice that doctors and lawyers are also pretty high-paying, high-status jobs, and that nothing of the sort happened there. And that when people aren’t using engineering/programming’s high status to justify their beliefs about gender stereotypes in it, they’re ruthlessly making fun of engineers and programmers, whether it’s watching Big Bang Theory or reading Dilbert or just going on about “pocket protectors”.

Meanwhile, men make up only 10% of nurses, only 20% of new veterinarians, only 25% of new psychologists, about 25% of new paediatricians, about 26% of forensic scientists, about 28% of medical managers, and 42% of new biologists.

Note that many of these imbalances are even more lopsided than the imbalance favoring men in technology, and that many of these jobs earn much more than the average programmer. For example, the average computer programmer only makes about $80,000; the average veterinarian makes about $88,000, and the average pediatrician makes a whopping $170,000...

Might young women be avoiding computers because they’ve absorbed stereotypes telling them that they’re not smart enough, or that they’re “only for boys”? No. As per Shashaani 1997, “[undergraduate] females strongly agreed with the statement ‘females have as much ability as males when learning to use computers’, and strongly disagreed with the statement ‘studying about computers is more important for men than for women’. On a scale of 1-5, where 5 represents complete certainty in gender equality in computer skills, and 1 completely certainty in inequality, the average woman chooses 4.2; the average male 4.03. This seems to have been true since the very beginning of the age of personal computers: Smith 1986 finds that “there were no significant differences between males and females in their attitudes of efficacy or sense of confidence in ability to use the computer, contrary to expectation…females [showed] stronger beliefs in equity of ability and competencies in use of the computer.” This is a very consistent result [Ed: This is empirical evidence against the chestnut that women are told they are incompetent with computers, have no confidence etc]...

Might girls be worried not by stereotypes about computers themselves, but by stereotypes that girls are bad at math and so can’t succeed in the math-heavy world of computer science? No. About 45% of college math majors are women, compared to (again) only 20% of computer science majors. Undergraduate mathematics itself more-or-less shows gender parity. This can’t be an explanation for the computer results.

Might sexist parents be buying computers for their sons but not their daughters, giving boys a leg up in learning computer skills? In the 80s and 90s, everybody was certain that this was the cause of the gap. Newspapers would tell lurid (and entirely hypothetical) stories of girls sitting down to use a computer when suddenly a boy would show up, push her away, and demand it all to himself. But move forward a few decades and now young girls are more likely to own computers than young boys – with little change in the high school computer interest numbers. So that isn’t it either...

One subgroup of women does not display these gender differences at any age. These are women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a condition that gives them a more typically-male hormone balance...

I mentioned that about 50% of medical students were female, but this masks a lot of variation. There are wide differences in doctor gender by medical specialty... A privilege-based theory fails – there’s not much of a tendency for women to be restricted to less prestigious and lower-paying fields – Ob/Gyn (mostly female) is extremely lucrative, and internal medicine (mostly male) is pretty low-paying for a medical job.

But the people/thing theory above does extremely well! Pediatrics is babies/children, Psychiatry is people/talking (and of course women are disproportionately child psychiatrists), OB/GYN is babies (though admittedly this probably owes a lot to patients being more comfortable with female gynecologists) and family medicine is people/talking/babies/children.

Meanwhile, Radiology is machines and no patient contact, Anaesthesiology is also machines and no patient contact, Emergency Medicine is danger, and Surgery is machines, danger, and no patient contact.

Here’s another fun thing you can do with this theory: understand why women are so well represented in college math classes. Women are around 20% of CS majors, physics majors, engineering majors, etc – but almost half of math majors! This should be shocking. Aren’t we constantly told that women are bombarded with stereotypes about math being for men? Isn’t the archetypal example of children learning gender roles that Barbie doll that said “Math is hard, let’s go shopping?” And yet women’s representation in undergraduate math classes is really quite good.

I was totally confused by this for a while until a commenter directed me to the data on what people actually do with math degrees. The answer is mostly: they become math teachers. They work in elementary schools and high schools, with people.

Then all those future math teachers leave for the schools after undergrad, and so math grad school ends up with pretty much the same male-tilted gender balance as CS, physics, and engineering grad school...

Silicon Valley was supposed to be better than this. It was supposed to be the life of the mind, where people who were interested in the mysteries of computation and cognition could get together and make the world better for everybody. Now it’s degenerated into this giant hatefest of everybody writing long screeds calling everyone else Nazis and demanding violence against them. Where if someone disagrees with the consensus, it’s just taken as a matter of course that we need to hunt them down, deny them of the cloak of anonymity, fire them, and blacklist them so they can never get a job again. Where the idea that we shouldn’t be a surveillance society where we carefully watch our coworkers for signs of sexism so we can report them to the authorities is exactly the sort of thing you get reported to the authorities if people see you saying...

This is the world we’ve built. Where making people live in fear is a feature, not a bug."


Comment: "My impression is that there were lots of women in CS in 1980 for the same reason there were lots of Jews in banking in 1800: they were banned from doing anything else. Computer programming was originally considered sort of a natural outgrowth of being a secretary (remember, 77% of data entry specialists are still female today, probably because it’s also considered a natural outgrowth of being a secretary). Women had lots of opportunity in it, and a lot of women who couldn’t break into other professions naturally went into it"

Links - 13th August 2017 (1)

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, A Haircut and a Pedicure - "Like many people who start out promisingly in their careers Paul Manuelez put his success partly down to his days at college. Not so much the studying though but the time he spent smoking shabu, the Filipino version of crustal meth. Shabu was an upper and it gave me lots of energy says Paul who went on to get a well paid job as a software designer. At college it helped me do poetry and write blogs. And in the corporate world it gave me confidence I used it daily without any negative effects"

"Bad Box Art" Mega Man - "This version of Mega Man is based on the North American box art of the first Mega Man game (1987). This horribly drawn box art contains virtually nothing that can be found in the actual game. Mega Man himself resembles a middle-aged man rather than a boy, his costume is colored yellow and blue instead of being entirely blue, and he is holding a handgun instead of his arm cannon. Over the years, the cover art has become infamous in the gaming community. It has been considered one of the worst game covers of all time. As joke, Capcom included this version of Mega Man in Street Fighter X Tekken as a playable guest character."

The Complicated Relationship Between Official Fandom & The PT (Its Fans Too): Commentary - "One day it seems like they’re pro-PT, one day I wonder if they really are. I’m not putting all of the blame on the Disney purchase either since this sort of thing has been happening even while Lucas still ruled the roost. For instance, the official Star Wars Twitter account several years back retweeted a fan-made cartoon where Deadpool kills a guy for praising the prequels and Hayden Christensen. The retweet was deleted after this site and several other fans protested. (And to be fair, this was way worse than a couple of IGN jokesters on “The Star Wars Show.”)"

Prof: 'white marble' in artwork contributes to white supremacy - "Professor Sarah Bond demonstrates in an article published in Hyperallergic that “many of the statues, reliefs, and sarcophagi created in the ancient Western world were in fact painted,” meaning the “white marble” often seen in such pieces of art were intended to be colored... “The assemblage of neon whiteness serves to create a false idea of homogeneity — everyone was very white! — across the Mediterranean region,” she adds, later stating that misconceptions of the classical era provide “further ammunition for white supremacists today, including groups like Identity Europa, who use classical statuary as a symbol of white male superiority.”"

Sci-Fi Novel Where All Women Gain Power to Kill Men Wins Fiction Prize - "The Power, by Naomi Alderman, was announced last night as the winner of the Bailey’s Prize for women’s fiction, which carries prize money of £30,000 (about $40,000)... Early in the “feminist science fiction” novel, by former Guardian writer Alderman, an unexplained event means women can suddenly fire electrical blasts from their fingertips, inflicting huge pain – and death – on men."
This seems to be a puerile inversion of the current order (as perceived by feminists) rather than a more sophisticated exploration of what an "inversion" of power might lead to. Just flipping everything is not very creative (I haven't read the book but this is what I gather, plus the Guardian review also calls it "a mirror image"). It is significant that women with *superpowers* don't lead to intra-gender relations changing
It ticks all the feminist boxes: God becoming a woman, men being frightened to walk alone at night, a simplistic dig at evolutionary psychology (claiming by extension that evo psych ignores historical evidence), what seems to be an endorsement of violence (“I’m so excited by young feminists today. I’m inspired by how these young women are not afraid to show their anger. They aren’t afraid of not being nice.”) etc
And the implied message of the novel is that today's world ("patriarchy") is a conspiracy between men to oppress women (since in the novel the women seem to conspire to oppress men), but of course reality is a good deal more complicated


Neo-Nazi Website Endorses UK Socialist Leader Jeremy Corbyn Because he's 'Seriously Anti-Jew'

Gay Trump supporters denied entry into Charlotte Pride Parade - Story - "Talbert, a member of "Gays for Trump, which is not affiliated with the "Gays for Trump" based in Greensboro, NC, said he and a fellow gay Trump supporter sent in an application to Charlotte Pride so they could have a float in this year's Charlotte Pride Parade. "It was going to be fun. We wanted to be energetic. We wanted to show that we weren't the racist, bigot, misogynistic…We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president. We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am," he said... "For a group of people to claim to want tolerance, acceptance, and give it to every single person you can imagine to give it to, for them to sit back and judge me for exercising my right as an American to choose my leader without judgment is hypocritical""

Why Now is NOT the Time to Fully Arm UK Police Despite the Recent Terror Attacks - "Most firearms are banned in the UK and those people who do own rifles or shotguns (handguns are totally banned), are closely monitored by the police. If even terrorists are struggling to get hold of guns, something must be working. Following the attack at London Bridge, President Trump tweeted how there would be no debate in the UK about gun control. That’s correct- the UK doesn’t need to have that debate for the very reason that they have gun control. Imagine if the attackers had been armed with guns. As terrible as these attacks were, it is highly likely that the fatalities and injuries would have been many, many times higher. Yes, there are guns in the hands of criminals in the UK – but even so, it is the country’s strict gun laws that have prevented far higher death tolls. Following the terror attack, others tweeted how the UK now needs to have Second Amendment rights, like in the US, so that civilians can arm themselves. They do not seem to grasp that it would also mean the terrorists would be able to arm themselves too. The simple truth is that more guns mean more gun deaths"

Saudi soccer team refuse to stand for London victims - "The Saudi Arabian soccer team refused to line up for a minute's silence for the London terror victims on Thursday night because it is not in keeping with their culture... An Islamic imam has suggested the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute's silence for the London terror victims because they believe 'it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer'. Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a 'lie' to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argues the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men. 'They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam - which governs Saudi Arabia - it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim,' he told Daily Mail Australia... Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been 'ridiculed' back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack"
Maybe it's ethnocentric and Islamophobic to expect them to observe a minute's silence because that goes against their culture. Just like it's ethnocentric and Islamophobic if a woman goes to Saudi Arabia and refuses to put on a headscarf because it goes against her culture

Digital Footprints Paint an Eerily Accurate Picture of Europe's Refugees - "When conducting the analysis, the researchers focused on a surprisingly simple formula: look for trends in Arabic language search queries originating in non-Arabic language speaking countries. Most refugees crossed into Greece from Turkey by sea, before continuing on to final destinations in Europe. The presence of the migrants in these countries—where Arabic is spoken at a minimal—accounted for the disproportionate number of Arabic-language searches done in Turkey and elsewhere during the period 2015-16, which was the period covered in the new study."

Betsy DeVos Names First Amendment Crusader to Prominent Higher Ed Role - "In what might indicate a significant shift in federal priorities for college oversight, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has picked a civil libertarian activist as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs... see an outraged response by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), who apparently objects to using the same legal standards to prove sexual misconduct in college courts and in ordinary courts"

How African-Americans and African Immigrants Differ - "As an immigrant to the United States from Sierra Leone, I perceive a huge chasm between African-Americans and African immigrants in the United States. That chasm has widened over the years. It has caused deep animosity between many African-Americans and their African immigrant cousins... most Africans have typically dealt with white Americans who went to Africa as Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, doctors or teachers. These Americans acted as mentors and guardians to the Africans and developed positive relationships with them. When they come to the United States, it has been my experience that Africans can easily identify with white Americans because they understand each other. Before migrating to the United States, the majority of Africans have had little to no direct negative experiences with whites. They simply do not hate them... African Americans usually see racism as the main cause of poverty among their people. They are also quick to point out instances of perceived racism, even in circumstances where it is ambiguous, unclear or more complex than simple racial bigotry or discrimination... For Africans, after suffering many years in civil wars, military coups and other problems, they are happy to be in a country that offers them freedom. They are ready to integrate into the American culture without getting involved in the lingering racial conflicts... Perhaps the greatest difference I have seen between African immigrants and African-Americans is how they react to adversity. Most African immigrants to the United States came here for economic advancement. They do not have any political agenda. They are willing to take any job and do not blame the “system” when they fail in their endeavors. Most African immigrants to the United States often live in mixed neighborhoods instead of black neighborhoods and they easily integrate. African immigrants know who they are. They are not easily offended when someone tries to put them down. They know where they come from and why they are here. For African-Americans, there is often a tendency to blame slavery for most of the problems they face today. For instance, when African American students fail in school, some educators blame slavery and do not look for other factors. However, the time has come for African Americans to realize that while racism still persists, the best thing they can do for their children is to teach them to take full responsibility for their actions. Fathers need to take care of their children and young women need to stay in school instead of having children."
Can you be an Uncle Tom if you're from Africa?

Biology Professor: Trump Presidency Is So Traumatic It Will Change Human Genome Forever - "Peter Ward, an academic at the University of Washington, predicted “an evolutionary consequence” because of the “stress” Trump’s term in the White House is causing the American population."

Spanish Authorities Warn: Don't Use Your Drone to Film Naked Ladies Sunbathing - "A group of men ran afoul of Spanish authorities after using a camera drone to spy on several women bathing topless, on a yacht off the coast of Majorca. The men, who were partying on a different yacht parked nearby, used the tiny flying robot to photograph at least seven women, five of whom were completely nude"
Apparently there is a right to privacy in public

SJW Outlet Roasted For Asking If White Man Who Saved Two Infants By Shooting Black Man Should Be Punished - "Leland Foster was allegedly threatening the mother of the children with a knife when a 12-year-old girl who was in the home ran to Cash Freeman’s house for help. The outlet states that Freeman rushed to the home, where he found Foster attempting to drown two 3-month-old twins in a bathtub. Freeman, according to the outlet, proceeded to shoot Foster twice in the back, killing him."

Is Religion the Cause of Most Wars? - "religion is the cause of a very small minority of wars. Phillips and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars lays out the simple facts. In 5 millennia worth of wars—1,763 total—only 123 (or about 7%) were religious in nature (according to author Vox Day in the book The Irrational Atheist). If you remove the 66 wars waged in the name of Islam, it cuts the number down to a little more than 3%. A second scholarly source, The Encyclopedia of War edited by Gordon Martel, confirms this data, concluding that only 6% of the wars listed in its pages can be labelled religious wars. Thirdly, William Cavanaugh’s book, The Myth of Religious Violence, exposes the “wars of religion” claim. And finally, a recent report (2014) from the Institute for Economics and Peace further debunks this myth."
Statistics on religion motivating wars

Is Religion the Cause of Most Wars? - "History simply does not support the hypothesis that religion is the major cause of conflict. The wars of the ancient world were rarely, if ever, based on religion. These wars were for territorial conquest, to control borders, secure trade routes, or respond to an internal challenge to political authority. In fact, the ancient conquerors, whether Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman, openly welcomed the religious beliefs of those they conquered, and often added the new gods to their own pantheon. Medieval and Renaissance wars were also typically about control and wealth as city-states vied for power, often with the support, but rarely instigation, of the Church. And the Mongol Asian rampage, which is thought to have killed nearly 30 million people, had no religious component whatsoever. Most modern wars, including the Napoleonic Campaign, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, World War I, the Russia Revolution, World War II, and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, were not religious in nature or cause. While religious groups have been specifically targeted (most notably in World War II), to claim that religion was the cause is to blame the victim and to misunderstand the perpetrators’ motives, which were nationalistic and ethnic, not religious. Similarly, the vast numbers of genocides (those killed in ethic cleanses, purges, etc. that are not connected to a declared war) are not based on religion... Of course the Hebrew Bible chronicles many wars — most notably Moses’ conflicts in the desert and Joshua’s conquest of the nations of Canaan — and we may see these as examples of religiously sanctioned violence. Here, though, we must recognize that archeological evidence points to the conclusion that these conquests never occurred, or at least not as dramatically as described in the Bible. As one who reads the Bible for spiritual truths, not historical facts, I am, of course, quite happy that no such slaughters occurred. The ancient Rabbis also understood these stories not as celebrated victories, but as warnings about the dangers of warfare"

Fees and the cost of au pair services - "Au pairs on the au pair program are to be compensated by the host family at a weekly rate based upon 45 hours of child care services per week and paid in conformance with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the U.S. Department of State... The minimum weekly federal stipend of $195.75 for the au pair participant for up to 45 hours per week and $146.81 for the EduCare participant for up to 30 hours per week is calculated based on the federal minimum wage less a credit set by the Department of Labor for room and board."
How come au pairs are exempt from the minimum wage? Isn't this "exploitation"?

Dojo Singapore. Our Story. - "No matter the sort of day you might be having, nothing beats chowing down on a juicy pork patty sandwiched between two toasted buns. The problem is, where can you possibly have such an experience? Pork burgers were only available in limited places in Singapore, especially ones made with pulled pork, that was until Dojo opened for business... Dojo started with a simple objective, to bring the delicious taste of pork burgers to everyone in the most innovative and titillating ways possible... The brand’s passion for pork stems from its founder, Janice Tan, whose late grandfather was a pig farmer from Seremban, Malaysia. Her many years of culinary experience handling and preparing pork has made her an expert in enhancing its flavour. The pork patties used in the burgers are seasoned with a secret family recipe that gives them a unique taste that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Janice is also meticulous in her selection of ingredients as well as the cooking techniques used to prepare them, so guests can be sure they are getting only the best quality and value at Dojo."
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