"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Links - 15th May 2017 (1)

Why Did Hayek Support a Basic Income? - "it is based on concepts that are absolutely central to libertarian thought – the twin ideas of freedom and coercion... Can we really dismiss the possibility that hard economic times, combined with an excess supply of labor and a small number of employers, will leave some employers with considerable market power over their workers? Are we really willing to say that each and every one of the outrages documented by Bertram et al. is the product of workers’ free choice, rather than (what they appear to be) something imposed on workers against their will by those who wield power over them? If libertarians are concerned to protect the freedom of all, and not just the freedom of most, we will want some mechanism that catches those who fall through the cracks left by imperfect market competition. We will want, too, some mechanism for protecting individuals whose economic vulnerability renders them vulnerable to domination outside the marketplace – the woman, for example, who stays with her abusive husband because she lacks the financial resources to support herself without him."

FAIRNESS: Man Who Says He's A Woman DOMINATING Women's Weightlifting - " Laurel Hubbard, a transgender "woman" from Kiwi, took a commanding win in Sunday's Australian International event in Melbourne. The athlete wrecked the biological women during Sunday's showdown, setting four national records. "Hubbard lifted a combined total of 268kg – 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa""

Helen Zille learns there's never a good time to cheer colonialism in South Africa—or elsewhere - "Helen Zille, the controversial premier of the republic’s Western Cape province and a former leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), will face discipline from her party after tweeting Thursday that “for those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water, etc.” [emphasis in original]. She later added “specialized health care and medication” to the list before expressing gratitude that she was boarding an airplane, where, without an Internet connection, she could “cut off those who think EVERY aspect of colonial legacy was bad.” [emphasis in original]"
Apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Pupils taught Disney fairy tales promote sexism and domestic violence in online lesson plan - "pupils as young as 11 are being taught that loyal heroine Belle is in an abusive relationship with the Beast in which "her only asset is her sexuality"."

Young, British Muslims 'getting more radical' - Telegraph - "The study found disturbing evidence of young Muslims adopting more fundamentalist beliefs on key social and political issues than their parents or grandparents. Forty per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under sharia law in Britain, a legal system based on the teachings of the Koran. The figure among over-55s, in contrast, was only 17 per cent... Britain's foreign policies were a key issue among the Muslim population as a whole, with 58 per cent arguing that many of the world's problems are "a result of arrogant Western attitudes". However, knowledge of foreign affairs was sketchy, with only one in five knowing that Mahmoud Abbas was the Palestinian president... The Policy Exchange report, Living Together Apart: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism — says there is strong evidence of a "growing religiosity" among young Muslims, with an increasing minority firmly rejecting Western life... The report also raises questions about the scale of the problems created by Islamophobia, with 84 per cent of those questioned saying they believed they had been "treated fairly" in Britain. There was also criticism of the decision by some councils to ban Christian symbols in case they offended Muslims or other communities. Three quarters said it was wrong for a council to have banned an advert for a Christmas carol service."

A researcher who interviewed hundreds of married women found the happiest "never bought into" a "dangerous fantasy" - "The collective wisdom seems to be: ‘Sometimes you will be miserable. This is the reality of long-term intimacy. Carry on."

What makes gambling wrong but insurance right? - "Almost a decade ago, I tried to place a bet with a leading UK betting shop that I would die within a year. They should have taken the bet - I am still alive. But they will not gamble on life and death. A life insurance company, by contrast, does little else."

Indonesian army destroys much-mocked tiger statue - "The Indonesian army has demolished a tiger statue in front of a base in West Java after it became a laughing stock online. The grinning tiger in a small village in Garut was supposed to be a mascot for the Siliwangi Military Command. But internet users found it hilarious because it was so different from the fierce tiger on official logos."

Southern Poverty Law Center overuses 'extremism': Jon Gabriel - "The SPLC is a non-profit heralded for its noble history defending civil rights. Founded in 1971, the Montgomery, Ala. legal advocacy organization sued the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups in the South on behalf of victims. Big settlements and harsh sanctions were levied against the racist organizations, successfully shuttering some and scaring off many others. But by 1986, these groups had rapidly declined. The SPLC could have declared “mission accomplished.” But since funds were still coming in, they declared a new mission statement. No longer would they fight Grand Wizards and Jim Crow, but turned instead to an endlessly expanding target of “extremism.” The change in goals was so stark, the entire legal staff resigned... The fact that the presidential choice of 63 million Americans is equated with a lynch mob skulking around Dixie shows how far the SPLC has strayed from its roots. Half the country can now be declared hate-filled extremists if this group is allowed to define the terms. And those targeted by the SPLC face dangerous consequences."

How to Fight Like a Viking - "Their reputation, experts say, came not so much from their weapons or armor as from their innovative tactics and high morale."

Who Was Ellen Krantz? - "Ephrem Tadele Yohannes followed Elin Krantz out of the tram, abducted her, pulled her into the wooden area in Länsmansgården and raped her there in the most violent way imaginable. Elin Krantz was hit and kicked by Ephrem Tadele Yohannes with so much force, her brain suffered from permanent damage resulting in a lack of oxygen, her head, neck, arms and legs were covered with contusions and hemorrhaging and her membranes around the vaginal opening were burst open... The biggest irony of it all is that Elin Krantz, who fell for the propaganda of "tolerance" and diversity, was a supporter of multiculturalism in Sweden. She was supposedly a member of the Facebook group “We Like Diversity”, called herself “multicultural” and supported immigration of people from the third-world countries into Sweden... Because Sweden is so multicultural now, no Swedish media could publish the fact that the perpetrator was an immigrant or that he was black in their reports on the case. They could not even mention his name by law, so they referred to him merely as a “23 year old”, saying things like “the 23 year old was charged with murder and aggravated rape”. However, thanks to the internet we know who he is."

Is It Safe Yet to Have an Honest Conversation About Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer? - "the main goal of smoking bans was "to change societal behavior" by stigmatizing smoking, making it less convenient and less socially acceptable. Indeed, even if you accept every allegation about the hazards of secondhand smoke, it's clear that the real "public health" payoff from smoking bans, in terms of reducing tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, comes from shrinking the number of smokers."

We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans - "the extravagant promises made by anti-smoking groups—that implementing bans would bring about extraordinary improvements in cardiac health—never materialized. Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint."

People Are Actually Mad That Wonder Woman Gal Gadot Has No Armpit Hair - "Wonder Woman has never had armpit hair in the comics or on screen. The new film is also set during World War 1, around the same time women began shaving their pits."

Ideological odd couple Robert George and Cornel West issue a joint statement against 'campus illiberalism' - "Stylistically and politically, Robert P. George and Cornel West don’t have much in common. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, is one of the country’s most prominent conservative intellectuals. West, a professor of the practice of public philosophy and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, is a self-described “radical Democrat” who, in addition to many books, once released a spoken-word album. So when George and West agree on something and lend their names to it, people take notice -- as they did this week, when the pair published a statement in support of “truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought and expression.” It’s a politely worded denunciation of what George and West call “campus illiberalism”"
It's okay, they can still be condemned as right wing extremists pushing an anti-progressive agenda based on a tiny number of isolated and exaggerated incidents

Cultural Bias on IQ Tests - "They found that 73.3% of the “experts” believed that Cognitive Ability Tests (IQ tests) did not have any racial bias"... a panel from The National Research Council and The National Academy of Sciences conducted an investigation of bias in mental testing, and concluded that cultural bias explained virtually none of the racial variance in IQ scores. In 1996, the American Psychological Association formed a panel, and it resulted in the publication entitled “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns” which concluded “Considered as predictors of future performance, the tests do not seem to be biased against African Americans”... the black and white test score difference was significantly larger for questions which were judged to be the least cultural and the lowest for questions judged to be the most cultural... blacks and whites had exactly the same order of hardest to least difficult questions. Moreover, the correlation between how often whites got a question wrong to how often blacks got a question wrong as a function of total score was 0.95."

Research paper (PDF): Admixture in the Americas: Regional and National Differences - "We find that European ancestry is consistently and usually strongly positively correlated with cognitive ability and socioeconomic outcomes (mean r for cognitive ability = .708; for socioeconomic well-being = .643)... We failed to find evidence of international colorism or culturalism (i.e., neither skin reflectance nor self-reported race/ethnicity showed incremental predictive ability once genomic ancestry had been taken into account) (Section 14). The association between European ancestry and cognitive outcomes was robust across a number of alternative measures of cognitive ability"

Cryptic Admixture, Mixed-Race Siblings, & Social Outcomes - "genetic data is open to the same fundamental differences in interpretation. Do blacks with more European admixture have higher IQs because they have more high IQ genes, or did their parents and wider society give them more IQ-boosting advantages because of their relatively European appearance? Or perhaps blacks with more white ancestry simply inherited greater amounts of cultural and material resources from their white ancestors... Heritability estimates rely on a so-called Equal Environment Assumption (EEA), that differential family resemblance is due to genetic similarity, and not to environmental similarity mediated by kinship. Behavior geneticists have assembled various kinds of evidence in support of this assumption. The strongest empirical evidence in support of the EEA uses twins with misidentified zygosity (i.e. the relative trait similarity of fraternal twins who mistakenly believe they are identical twins and vice versa). For example, IQ scores are not more similar among fraternal twins that are mistakenly raised as identical twins (Scarr et al., 1979; Matheny 1979). This is a fairly low-tech behavior genetic solution to the EEA problem, and there is an analogous solution to the admixture problem. The original report from the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study by Scarr and Weinberg (1976) showed that the transracially adopted children with one black parent scored 12 points higher on IQ tests than the transracially adopted children with two black parents. Scarr asked whether this could be due to an “Expectancy Effect,” that is if the biracial children scored higher on the tests because their white adoptive parents treated them differently. She tested this idea by looking at the children with misidentified racial background. Twelve of the biracial children were mistakenly believed to have two black parents. These biracial children nevertheless had the same higher IQ scores as the biracial children with correctly identified racial background (pp. 732-733)."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, It's Just Not Cricket - "[On Boko Haram in Nigeria] Maidaguri became the centre of the Boko Haram insurgency... A handful of places to go out are still open but Joy complains these are mainly clubs. If you want to go on a romantic date, Joy tells me, there's really just the zoo...
[On Japan] In a recent survey of young adults between the ages of 18-34 conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 70% of unmarried men and 60% of unmarried women were not in a relationship, and many were virgins"

El Chapo Confessed His Crimes to Sean Penn (??) in a Secret Jungle Clearing (???) - "The scene: “A jungle clearing atop a mountain at an undisclosed location in Mexico.” The characters: Escaped Mexican billionaire drug kingpin El Chapo and, uh, Sean Penn? The result: A presumably edited, rambling 11,000-word account of a madman’s meeting with a criminal."

A sarcastic response to Syria's militants - "the station's manager, Raed Fares, has had enough of being told what to do by the powerful jihadist group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham or JFS - which until last July was linked to al-Qaeda and known as the al-Nusra Front. "They tried to force us to stop playing music on air," says Fares. "So we started to play animals in the background as a kind of sarcastic gesture against them." In what appear to be further acts of sarcastic sabotage aimed at JFS's ban on music, Radio Fresh FM has introduced long sequences of bongs from London's Big Ben clock, endless ticking sounds, ringing explosions and the whistle of shells flying through the air. And instead of songs with melodies, the station now plays recordings of tuneless chanting football fans... It's not that surprising that IS doesn't like Fares. After all, he did once design a poster depicting Syria as an alien with a monster called ISIS exploding out of its chest. The group has since been pushed out of Idlib province... Humour, it seems, is never far from the surface with Raed Fares. Take his response to another of JFS's demands, to get rid of women news readers - who are also haram, they say. Has he, I ask him, agreed to swap them for men? "No, I have another solution for that issue. We simply put their voices through a computer software program which makes them sound like men.""

Who is trolling the Pope? - "posters of a stern-looking Pope Francis. Underneath his glum, almost menacing face, was a list of complaints: he'd removed priests, ignored the concerns of cardinals and "decapitated" an ancient Catholic group, the Knights of Malta... At roughly the same time the posters were plastered around the city's walls, cardinals in Rome were opening their email inboxes to find a "fake" front page of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. It had the traditional Latin motto which sits on the paper's masthead beneath a papal coat of arms, and a list of questions sent to the Pope by a group of conservative cardinals, with the answer, in each case, "Sic et non!" - "Yes and no!" This is the Pope being trolled on his home turf - and what's more, in Latin... At the forefront of the opposition to Pope Francis is an American Cardinal, Raymond Burke, a stickler for the rules who once told John Kerry, when he was a presidential candidate, that he could not receive communion because of his previous support for abortion. Cardinal Burke has dedicated much of his life to studying the church's laws, and he wants to ensure they are enforced. He believes this Pope is tinkering dangerously with Christianity's 2,000-year-old tradition and has even threatened to issue an "act of correction" against Francis. This would be a very bold, highly unusual move - it hasn't happened for centuries.
Nonetheless, liberals will not be happy until Pope Francis is no longer Catholic
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