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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Links - 22nd April 2017 (1)

Real life CSI: Google's new AI system unscrambles pixelated faces - "The neural network could be used to increase the resolution of blurred or pixelated faces, in a way previously thought impossible; a similar system was demonstrated for enhancing images of bedrooms, again creating a 32x32 pixel image from an 8x8 one."

President Duterte Is Repeating My Mistakes - - "Not only did we fail to eradicate drug production, trafficking and consumption in Colombia, but we also pushed drugs and crime into neighboring countries. And we created new problems. Tens of thousands of people were slaughtered in our antidrug crusade. Many of our brightest politicians, judges, police officers and journalists were assassinated. At the same time, the vast funds earned by drug cartels were spent to corrupt our executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. This heavy-handed approach to drugs did little to diminish the drug supply and demand in Colombia, much less in markets like Western Europe and the United States. In fact, drugs such as cocaine and heroin are as accessible as ever from Bogotá to New York to Manila... Taking a hard line against criminals is always popular for politicians. I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs during my time as president. The polls suggest that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is equally popular. But he will find that it is unwinnable. I also discovered that the human costs were enormous. We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts. We started making positive impacts only when we changed tack, designating drugs as a social problem and not a military one"

Finally: Mozilla adds working HTML5 Video autoplay blocking to Firefox - "I just wrote a tutorial on disabling auto-playing Flash and HTML5 videos in Firefox and Chrome in which I mentioned Firefox's media.autoplay.enabled preference"

Police Officer Who Spoke out on Migrant Crime Now Under Investigation for Racial Hatred - "A police officer who broke ranks to reveal that migrants are to blame for the vast majority of serious crime in Sweden is now under investigation for incitement to racial hatred. Peter Springare’s exasperated rant describing the face of crime in Sweden received a huge amount of attention since it was posted to Facebook on Friday 3rd. In the post, the officer concedes that while it’s not politically correct to say so, almost all the serious crime cases he had dealt with over the past week involved migrants. He also states that this situation has been ongoing for the last decade or more. But now the department of internal investigations is probing Mr. Springare for incitement to racial hatred as a result of the post, police have confirmed... Appearing on SVT Tuesday night renowned criminologist Leif GW Persson also came to Mr. Springare’s defence. He described the Facebook post as “refreshing”, and said he believes that most police officers are voting for the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD) party."

Are gender feminists and transgender activists undermining science? - "Gender feminists often point to a single study, published in 2015, which claimed it isn’t possible to tell apart male and female brains. But when a group of researchers reanalyzed the underlying data, they found that brains could be correctly identified as female or male with 69% to 77% accuracy. In another study, published in 2016, researchers used a larger sample in conjunction with higher-resolution neuroimaging and were able to successfully classify a brain by its sex 93% of the time... In my experience, proponents touting the “blank slate” view are willing to agree, in private conversations, that neurological sex differences do exist, but they fear that acknowledging as much publicly will justify female oppression. This is backward. As it stands, female-typical traits are seen as inferior and less worthy of respect. This is the real issue the movement fails to address: Nobody wants to be female-typical, not even women. Distortion of science hinders progress. When gender feminists start refuting basic biology, people stop listening, and the larger point about equality is lost... transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls. It’s not hard to understand why. The idea that some gender dysphoric people may grow up to be comfortable in their birth sex is interpreted as a threat to the community. Acknowledging that reality may seem like a slippery slope to denying the need for gender reassignment surgery even in adults. But ignoring the science around desistance has serious consequences; it means some transgender children will needlessly undergo biomedical interventions, such as hormone treatments. Even detransitioning from a purely social transition can be a difficult process for a child. In one 2011 study of 25 gender dysphoric children, 11 desisted. Of the desisters, two had socially transitioned and regretted it. They struggled to return to their birth sex in part because of fear of teasing from their classmates, and they did not dare to make the change until they enrolled in high school."

Berlin Report: 92 Percent of Left-Wing Activists Live With Parents, One in Three Unemployed - "The data was based off of 873 political activists, who had been investigated by authorities between 2003 and 2013. 84% of those investigated were men, while 73% were between the ages of 18 and 29... Left-wing activists were also reportedly responsible for the attempted murder of eleven people between 2009 and 2013"

Some fiendishly complex archaic kanji just won't die - "Be very afraid: A monster kanji is created by artistically combining four separate characters, which in Chinese are read 招財進寶 (zhao cai jin bao), meaning 'invite fortune, enter treasure.'"

Brendan O'Neill - I do not support Trump. But right now I am more... - "I do not support Trump. But right now I am more worried about the rash, even unstable global response to Trump than I am about Trump himself"

Brendan O'Neill - "No president has been as hostile to press... - ""Trump is racist though. An actual racist president. This is unheard of in the modern era." Well, FDR interned thousands of Japanese Americans. He signed an actual executive order -- EO 9033 -- okaying the rounding up of Japanese people. And he remains a lefty hero. Bill Clinton's crime bill of 1994 led to the incarceration of blacks on a mass, unprecedented scale. That was pretty racist... This is literally the level of Trump fever we have reached. To cling to historical perspective, to refuse to give in to the historical amnesia of treating Trump as the worst president ever, is to be a fellow traveller of fascism. To tell the truth is to be a fascist. It is no longer enough to oppose Trump -- you must also agree that he is the worst ever, a unique threat, a barbarian we must all organise against, or else you're out of polite society. These are indeed worrying times, but not because of Trump. it's the demand by the anti-Trump lobby that we capitulate to hysteria and embrace historical ignorance under pain of being considered a fascist that should worry you."

That One Time the Nazis Helped China Fight Japan - "For about a decade, German soldiers advised Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek in his campaigns against Chinese Communists … and also against Germany’s future allies, the Japanese"

S’pore company used forklift & bubble wrap to recreate CNY firecracker sound

Secretive Beijing demands transparency over missing jet - "China’s strident calls for Malaysia to divulge all it knows about flight MH370 are in stark contrast to its own history of secretiveness when calamities have struck, such as after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, analysts say."

The Disputed Story behind the Statue of Liberty’s Muslim Heritage - "“The Statue of Liberty was born a Muslim!” yelled activist Linda Sarsour, at a rally in New York City on Sunday, January 29th... Bartholdi’s initial sketches for the monument that would become the Statue of Liberty bear striking resemblance to his drawings for the Suez Canal sculpture—the final product does, too. And indeed, when the young artist presented his idea to the Egyptian khedive, he described a freed Egyptian female slave. At the time, the country’s population was primarily Muslim, so the veiled Egyptian woman that Bartholdi envisioned has been assumed to symbolize the same religion. But when Bartholdi presented his vision to the United States, he took a different tack, describing the robed woman as Libertas"
Some suggest that Egyptian slaves during that period would've been Christian so the claim is even more dodgy

Amanda Ellen - Sit-in "protests" have been happening a lot this... - "A few concurrent thoughts on this Ohio U photo and "demand sit in"... What is fascist about an order that has as much support from the public as it does criticism? What is fascist about an order that has almost equal support from voters of the Democrat party than it does from Trump's own? Whether you or I like it or not, Trump's ban is very much supported. And the dismissive and reductionist identity politics which tries to lie and say otherwise, is the same lies which oversimplified Trump's voter base and put him in the office in the first place. It helps no-one to ignore facts and nuance, however inconvenient, and least of whom does it help the liberal cause here... "if every day was Christmas, it would never be Christmas" also applies to calling everyone you disagree with a "fascist". Same goes with "Nazi", "bigot", "racist", "SJW", and any other label intellectual weaklings want to throw out to avoid having to form a valid, evidentiary based criticism of someone else. The words stop having meaning, and I am not okay with that...
Is there anything truly "fascist" in this situation? Yes, there is.
- Occupying a non public space the occupiers have no legal right to
- For the purpose of making demands against a NON government body
- Refusing to leave until every demand is unconditionally met
- Refusing to engage in democratic discussion about the demands, or reform/changes to them
- Intolerance of any opposition...
Do they not understand how dangerous and illiberal a precedent it sets to start politicizing academic institutions?! Because if they don't, someone needs to remind them of the political brainwashing done in universities during communism in Eastern Europe."

6 Words That Will End Picky Eating - "every time he says yuck or I don’t want that, I say calmly, “You don’t have to eat it,” and tuck into my own meal... But the biggest revelation was that it gave me permission to stop hounding my son to eat—to even, really, stop monitoring what he eats. Because the meals I make are reasonably healthy and somewhat varied, I can enjoy my meal and let him eat, or not eat, without any Sturm und Drang. I don’t keep a (very limited) list in my head of “what my kid will eat.” It’s also stopped the short-order-cook thing in its tracks. I cook whatever I want to eat, and if my son doesn’t want to try, say, squash and sausage casserole one night, that’s up to him—there’s garlic bread on the side, and carrots from the salad, and I’ve probably put a few apple slices on everyone’s plate. He may try a bite maybe the 20th time I serve it, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the casserole, my younger son is picking out the sausage and eating the squash, and it won’t go to waste. This system totally eliminates the power struggle that goes along with “getting kids to eat.” It also allows kids to pay attention to their body’s satiety cues—it turns out that my son doesn’t eat much dinner at all, ever, no matter what I serve. He’s just not hungry in the evening. So I try to make the earlier meals as nutritious as possible and don’t worry about dinner"

Curing the antibiotics 'disease' - "It found that one-third of patients expect antibiotics to be prescribed by their GPs for common ailments like cough, sore throat, runny nose and blocked nose. These are mainly caused by viruses, and not bacteria. Many of the patients were not aware that antibiotics are useless against viruses... The study, which involved 914 adult patients from 24 GP clinics across Singapore, also found that half of those expecting antibiotics would ask their doctors to prescribe the medication or would see another doctor if antibiotics were not prescribed... In Britain, GPs are paid by the National Health System to reduce their antibiotic prescriptions. While results have proven effective - with prescriptions for all types of antibiotics down by more than 2.6 million in 2015 compared with the previous year - questions have been raised about whether doctors should be paid for doing something that is essentially part of their job. Other suggestions such as separating drug dispensing from prescription have also been mooted, but this could increase GPs' consultation fees and lead to more hassle for patients who would have to collect their drugs separately."

Trump: Doing the necessary or bigotry in action? - "a refugee intake of 50,000 per year was actually the 15-year average before 2016. Former President Obama was the one who had gone beyond the norm by increasing it to 110,00 in 2016. Mr Trump is merely going back to the norm, added Mr French, citing data from the Migration Policy Institute, a US non-profit think tank."

'Anti-theist' stabs Christian housemate to death in Germany 'because he hated religion' - "Just 10 days after moving in together, Daniel stormed into his victim’s room and asked to hear her position was on same-sex marriage, prosecutors said. When she rejected it, he withdrew a knife hidden in his pocket and stabbed her as she sat on the bed"
Chalk one up for the homophiles...

The Truth and Myth Behind Animal Trials in the Middle Ages - "Weevils destroy your crops? Pig maim your children? Dying to get back at these creatures? In Europe during the Middle Ages, you could bring them to court, where they could face sentences ranging from gruesome mutilation to excommunication. Or at least that is what many reports say, although the hard evidence of such legal actions is scant... one of the most famous cases of beasts on trial, involving a bunch of rats, was “completely made up just to defame the lawyer who supposedly defended the rats.” Even with so much uncertainty about which animal trials were real, McDougall stresses that some did still take place... most large animals were tried for offenses such as murder, and generally executed or exiled, while smaller, more diffuse pests and offenders were more often excommunicated or denounced by a church tribunal. But all were thought to have been given their day in court... In 1916 an elephant named Mary murdered her trainer and was hanged in Tennessee using a crane. In 2008, in Macedonia, a bear was convicted of stealing honey from a beekeeper. The parks service was forced to pay $3,500 in damages"

Camels vs Mules - "When the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers imported 34 camels in the spring of 1856 to survey the wagon road from Albuquerque to Los Angeles the mule lobby in Missouri threw a hissy. “Camels,” they said, “were ill-tempered, stubborn and ugly, had bad breath and wouldn’t learn English.”

Britain kept nuclear weapons in Singapore during cold war? - "Britain kept nuclear weapons at bases in Cyprus and Singapore during the cold war without telling the governments of the two countries, according to a study to be published this week. Tactical nuclear weapons were deployed at RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus as early as 1960. Two years later Harold Macmillan, then prime minister, personally authorised the storage of nuclear weapons at RAF Tengah in Singapore."

Killer Snails - "In the deck-building card game Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea, you are the scientist collecting predatory cone snails that prey on fish, worms and other mollusks, to build a venom arsenal of potentially life-saving peptide toxins. Out-strategize your competition and concoct the winning solution!"

Seagulls in WWI trained to spot submarines - "The idea was that they could train seagulls by covering their own submarine periscopes with food, so that when they put their periscopes out of the water, the seagulls would flock to get the food. The eventual view was that over a period of time seagulls would then learn that if a periscope of any kind popped out of the water it would contain food. Therefore whenever they saw seagulls flocking to an area, the navy would know that a German submarine was in the vicinity."

Is It Time to Desegregate the Sexes? - The New York Times - "The problem schools face is that they can’t prevent sex discrimination unless they can say with certainty what sex is. And in an age of gender fluidity, the word is hard to define. This year the agencies told schools to interpret “sex” as a psychological condition, an “internal sense of gender,” rather than an anatomical one. The new interpretation has some science to back it up. But the way the change was made — by fiat, without public debate — has produced a surprisingly broad backlash, from secular feminists as well as evangelical conservatives... people have a right to privacy. Courts have largely agreed that no one should have to undress unwillingly in front of a member of the opposite sex, or see that person naked. Call it prudishness, if you like, but such modesty is common. We live in a sex-segregated world. After a certain point in childhood, men and women go their separate ways for almost every activity that involves exposing the body. The word “segregation” brings Jim Crow to mind, of course, and indeed, transgender activism has been compared to the civil-rights movement. But we have to ask whether physical modesty is tantamount to racism or has a more legitimate basis... In defining sex so expansively, the agencies may have walked themselves into a legal contradiction. Title IX has also been interpreted as saying that schools must not tolerate a “hostile environment” that makes girls feel threatened and could impede their education. If the cisgender girl claims that the transgender girl is invading her privacy in a discomfiting way, that could also constitute a Title IX violation. As the Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote in The New Yorker, “The federal government is putting schools in a position where they may be sued whichever route they choose.” And so they have been... a transgender girl, “Student X,” danced to music with explicit lyrics — “Milkshake” by Kelis, for example — while twerking, grinding and at least once lifting up her skirt to show off her underwear. When one girl edged away, according to the complaint, Student X made rude comments about her. When she and other girls moved to a different locker room, Student X came in and changed next to them. Student X allegedly asked one girl her bra size and suggested they “trade body parts.”"
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