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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Links - 28th May 2017 (1)

Fake News Factory — Another Disastrous Week For 'The Washington Post' - "Over only a few days, The Washington Post has blown FIVE HUGE stories with massive national implications, and not a single one of its competitors have said a word."

11 HUMONGOUS Lies Told By The Washington Post's Phony Fact-Checker - "Although there are a number of studies, including one published in The Washington Post itself, that back up Team Trump's claim that there is plenty of evidence of widespread vote fraud, every time anyone speaks these inconvenient facts, they are falsely attacked as liars with four Pinocchios."

Do non-citizens vote in U.S. elections? - "This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress."
Apparently vote fraud is still supposed to be a myth and requiring voter ID is racist (even though many liberal democracies practise it)

Why are (male) surgeons still addressed as Mr? - "Surgeons, or rather male surgeons, are always addressed as Mr in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, sometimes but not always in Australia and New Zealand, and rarely in Canada or the United States"

Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human-like biases - "machines can learn word associations from written texts and that these associations mirror those learned by humans, as measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT) (see the Perspective by Greenwald). Why does this matter? Because the IAT has predictive value in uncovering the association between concepts, such as pleasantness and flowers or unpleasantness and insects. It can also tease out attitudes and beliefs—for example, associations between female names and family or male names and career. Such biases may not be expressed explicitly, yet they can prove influential in behavior."

Words are violent - "The danger posed by labeling certain words or ideas as “microaggressions” is that doing so justifies, in a subtle manner, the use of real aggression in order to counter those words or ideas. If you designate certain speech as “violent” or as an act of aggression, it allows the opponents of that speech to use the rationale of retaliation to use actual physical aggression to oppose that speech. As an example, when Chancellor Nicholas Dirks reassured the hysterical loons on campus that they would be protected from Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech and announced the creation of multiple safe spaces for those who might be traumatized by his remarks, he provided a justification for the lunatics who then attacked those they perceived to be the sources of that trauma. Note to administrators: You can’t expect to continually tell students that they are victims of some sort of verbal violence and not expect them to act out against their victimizers. Microaggressions, trigger warnings and safe spaces all share the same justification — the idea that students need to be protected from certain types of speech or certain ideas. If you are accepted to UC Berkeley, your acceptance letter should be your one and only trigger warning... If ideas alone can pierce your skin, it is not the ideas that need to be softened — it is your skin that needs to become less fragile."

How WeChat censors politically sensitive messages, as revealed by Citizens Lab research - "By attempting to send messages with text related to the crackdown and the lawyers affected, Citizen Lab found that politically sensitive material simply does not get sent on WeChat at all. What’s more, the app does not tell users that their message has been blocked. This only affects users with accounts registered to mainland Chinese mobile phone numbers, and usually only in WeChat group chats, which allow up to 500 users to converse simultaneously... WeChat censorship uses a system that is more sophisticated than just blocking this or that sensitive word. While some terms, like “Falun Gong,” cause any message containing them to be rejected flat-out, the censorship usually works by looking for a combination of what Citizen Lab calls “keyword combinations.” In the example above, “human rights” is not blocked, but the full phrase “China arrest human rights defenders” is. Similarly, in Chinese neither of the phrases “China human rights” or “criticize Chinese government” alone get censored, but a message containing both does."

Console Repairmen Explain Why Cockroaches Love PS4s

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet - "This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canada’s self-image/energy policy... If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldn’t matter all that much if every Tim Horton’s stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead."

Is the world getting better or worse? - "Neither the pessimists nor the optimists are entirely right. But the optimists win on points – the majority of indicators are going in the right direction... Take air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has got worse in the developing world but better in the developed world, not least because of environmental legislation. A bigger problem, however, is indoor air pollution from using dirty fuels to cook and keep warm, mostly in the developing world. This has been decreasing rapidly, meaning that, overall, damage from air pollution has been falling. In 1900 air pollution cost 23 per cent of GDP; today it is at about 6 per cent, and will probably be reduced to 4 per cent by 2050."

How East and West think in profoundly different ways - "Few people living in Hokkaido today have ever needed to conquer the wilderness themselves. And yet psychologists are finding that the frontier spirit still touches the way they think, feel and reason, compared with people living in Honshu just 54km (33 miles) away. They are more individualistic, prouder of success, more ambitious for personal growth, and less connected to the people around them. In fact, when comparing countries, this ‘cognitive profile’ is closer to America than the rest of Japan... This tendency for self-inflation appears to be almost completely absent in a range of studies across East Asia; in fact, in some cases the participants were more likely to underestimate their abilities than to inflate their sense of self-worth... Although some people have claimed that our social orientation may have a genetic element, the evidence to date suggests that it is learned from others. Alex Mesoudi at the University of Exeter recently profiled the thinking styles of British Bangladeshi families in East London. He found that within one generation, the children of immigrants had started to adopt some elements of the more individualistic outlook, and less holistic cognitive styles. Media use, in particular, tended to be the biggest predictor of the shift. “It tended to be more important than schooling in explaining that shift”... states at the edge of the frontier (such as Montana) tend to score higher on measures of individualism... Corey Fincher (now at the University of Warwick) and colleagues analysed global epidemiological data to show a region’s score of individualism and collectivism appear to correlate with disease prevalence: the more likely you are to get infection, the more collectivist you are, and the less individualistic... He has since tested his [rice-wheat] hypothesis in India, which also [like China] shows a clear divide in wheat and rice growing regions, with similar results. Almost all the people he questioned are not directly involved in farming, of course – but the historical traditions of their regions are still shaping their thinking. “There’s some inertia in the culture.”"

Erdogan’s Turkey Doesn’t Belong in the EU or NATO - "The recall of Turkish military personnel from bases in Afghanistan is but a small part of Erdogan’s “NATO purge“, where those suspected of being disloyal to the regime are imprisoned and tortured upon their return, and Erdogan-loyalists are sent in their place. As many as 400 envoys have been called back from nations like Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Great Britain, though — as one can tell from my personal account — there is also a purge of regular military personnel in other parts of the world that has not been as widely reported (and I suspect that purge far surpasses 400)... The Turkish president’s initial rise to power being due to intimidation rather than democracy is beyond dispute. Erdogan used virtually every weapon in the arsenal to get to where he is today: persecution of political rivals, police brutality upon the general populace, censorship, and the jailing of journalists. The list goes on... As for Turkey’s NATO membership, a revocation should at least be open for discussion, given that in order for a country to qualify for NATO membership they have to follow the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that a nation must have a commitment to the principles of liberty, democracy, human rights, and international law — which Turkey has demonstrated repeatedly it does not have."

US man sues dating app Grindr after 1,100 strangers turn up at his home, workplace demanding sex, United States - "The New York City resident's attorneys filed a complaint last Wednesday (April 12), alleging that he is a victim of an elaborate revenge scheme by a former boyfriend whom he met via the app."

Vagina-sealing glue-stick: a terrifying new alternative to traditional sanitary products - ""It breaks down instantly with urine, retaining menstrual fluid in the vagina until urinatation," he continues. "Upon urinating the seal releases and allows the urine along with the menstrual fluid to exit into the toilet. Think of it as potty training the period, cleaner, healthier, more secure, less risk of infections... it has so far been tried out only by a small number of women... Dr Dopps was swamped with criticism over his misunderstanding of female anatomy, with some accusing him misogyny. Doing nothing to dispel the gathering online hate mob, Dr Dopps replied to one commenter: "You as a woman should have come up with a better solution than diapers and plugs, but you didn’t. Reason being women are focused on and distracted by your period 25 per cent of the time, making them far less productive than they could be. Women tend to be far more creative than men, but their periods that [sic] stifle them and play with their heads.” He later told Forbes he believed he had identified the root cause of the negative responses his product had received: “A lot of the LGBT community, lesbians in particular, are furious at me because I’m a white straight man,” he said."
Apparently it's more satisfying to bash straight white men than to have an additional product that might actually work.

Judge says 'cultural context' should be considered when investigating allegations of parental child abuse - "Mrs Justice Pauffley said that within “many communities newly arrived” in Britain, children were “slapped and hit” for misbehaviour in a way which “at first excites the interest of child protection professionals.” Speaking about a particular case involving a boy who claimed he had been hit with a belt by his father, she said “proper allowance must be made” for the fact the family came from another culture - in this case, India"... It is not illegal for a parent to hit their child as long as the smack amounts to “reasonable punishment”. Unreasonable punishment is classed as a smack that leaves a mark on the child, or the use of an implement to hit the child, such as a belt or cane"

Nordic Democratic Socialist Model: Exposing the Left’s Myth - "A common misconception is that the Nordic countries became socially and economically successful by introducing universal welfare states funded by high taxes. In fact, their economic and social success had already materialized during a period when these countries combined a small public sector with free-market policies. The welfare state was introduced afterward. That the Nordic countries are so successful is due to an exceptional culture that emphasizes social cohesion, hard work, and individual responsibility."

Why Envy Dominates Greed - "Perhaps civilizations implode because they are made of people driven by envy that inevitably pulls down the talented tenth that create everything that great societies cumulate upon in art, science, and technology. Such a scenario was scarily recounted in Amy Chua's World On Fire, which noted that one commonality of genocide is the extermination of elites, who are always in the minority, and appeals to the envy, not the greed, of the masses (Jews in Germany, Kulaks by Stalin, Tutsi's in Rwanda, Armenians in Turkey, educated Cambodians by Pol Pot)"

Facebook admits to blocking Wikileaks links in DNC email hack - "The WikiLeaks allegation followed a firestorm of controversy that erupted earlier this year when former Facebook workers admitted routinely suppressing conservative news."

Min-Liang Tan’s message to Singapore about Pokemon Go - "Min-Liang references previous controversies like the government banning first-person shooter game Counterstrike for excessive violence and science fiction game Mass Effect over a same-sex kiss scene. The bans have since been lifted. Both games share with Pokemon Go a media furore that was blown way out of proportion in Singapore and abroad, and demonstrate how “concerned citizens” tend to overreact with such fads"

Racism has a new name: HBD - "The blank slaters were absolutely sure of themselves, rather uncivil, and didn't feel much need to cite evidence to support their claims. For the most part, they simply dismissed counterarguments with varying degrees of vitriol. The HBDers were quite civil and often presented evidence to support their claims. They argued their case pretty well, In My Arrogant Opinion. In fact, within the confines of their case, they did a great job. Their weakness lay in the fact that the confines of their case are quite narrow"
It is interesting even how someone who is contemptuous of the "Human Biodiversity" crowd is scathing of blank slaters and evaluates the human biodiversity people more favorably

Government bans Latin abbreviations on its websites to avoid confusion - "Phrases such as etc, ie, and eg will be phased out from all GOV.UK sites because foreign speakers find them “difficult to read”."

This madam has figured out how to keep sex workers safe on the internet - "She’ll insist on calling your office, speaking to the switchboard operator, and being patched through to your desk. Then she will want to check out your profile on the company website and LinkedIn. She’ll demand you send her message from your work email, and require a scan of either your passport or driver’s license... agencies have one remaining edge over independent sex work: They reduce risk. This is the market opportunity Rita has spotted... As technology has expanded our transactional networks, it must also offer new ways of building trust and reputation. Online reviews—of anything from restaurants to handymen—are the most conspicuous example of this. As we’ve reported, they’re critical to the functioning of the ultra-secretive marketplaces of the dark web, which trade everything from drugs to weapons to stolen identities... A government official said that accessing the darkest corners of the dark web requires an invite—and you can only get an invite if you have been referred by “trusted criminals.”... Harvard economist Larry Katz speculates that those who will thrive in the modern economy will be the ones who can pair technology with particularly human interpersonal skills that no machine can replicate"
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