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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Links - 18th June 2017 (2)

Harvard tells students gender can 'change from day to day' - "The office of BGLTQ Student Life at Harvard University has released a new school-sponsored guide telling students to “fight transphobia” and “get the facts about gender diversity.” The guide, which was distributed to students on campus, declares that “there are more than two sexes” and that “gender is fluid and changing,” adding that someone’s gender identity “can be affirmed and/or expressed in many ways,” and can even “change from day to day.”... “Transphobic misinformation is a form of systemic violence,” the document goes on to state. “Fixed binaries and biological essentialism, manifest in gendered language, misgendering someone, and the policing of trans bodies, threaten the lives of trans people.”"... Several Harvard students expressed outrage about the use of school funds for this campaign, but all declined comment on the record due to concerns about potential repercussions from the school. Harvard evoked national outrage for a similar stunt in December 2015, when it distributed “social justice placemats” intended to help students articulate their progressive views to family members during Christmas break."
Comment: "If "an individual's gender expression and understanding can change from day to day", that is all the more reason NOT to encourage kids to transition (especially with regard to taking hormones/puberty blockers), and NOT to allow the rest of society (restrooms and changing facilities; women's sports, etc.) to be swallowed up by "transgender rights"."
"Male Harvard Students! Swap genders, get yourself some women's scholarships, then just change back!"

Anti-Semitism in Malmö reveals flaws in Swedish immigration system - ""A Jew, I cannot believe that you cannot be a Jew in Sweden!" says Siavosh Derakhti. The 23-year-old Muslim is the child of Iranian parents, refugees of the Iran-Iraq war. He has become a champion in the fight against anti-Semitism in Malmö, a town a little smaller than Halifax perched on the southern tip of Sweden. Muslim immigrants, most with roots in the Middle East, make up nearly a third of Malmö's population... The Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles issued a travel advisory to Jews in 2010 – don't go to Malmö. It reissued the warning last year. Derakhti gets hate mail from the far-right and death threats from fellow Muslims... Residents say public discussion of immigration-related issues is difficult. "There is a political correctness in Sweden," Fribourg says. "You don't discuss your problems, you push them under the carpet." "And if you do talk about them, you are immediately called a racist," adds Lunderquist. "That's a very Swedish response, afraid of tackling problems. It's better to pretend the problem does not exist." Derakhti was invited to meet U.S. President Barack Obama when he visited Sweden two years ago, for example, but he is still waiting for a meeting with the Mayor of Malmö."

Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace In Societies Where Faith Is Law | Kacem El Ghazzali - "I will not be discussing this question from a theological point of view. Such an approach is unproductive. We can find in the Koran and hadiths both peaceful and violence verses. Instead, I will focus on the religion in terms of its actual social practice, to try to analyze the conditions in the countries where Muslims are the majority. Do tolerance and social peace prevail in Muslim-majority countries which enshrine "Islam" in law? Nowadays in most such countries, atheists, apostates and those who convert to another religion are persecuted. According to the NGO International Humanist and Ethical Union, there are 13 countries where expressing atheism is punishable by the death penalty. What these countries have in common, despite their differences: Islam is the state religion... It is not a rare occurrence that angry mobs of Muslims flock through the streets to punish, vigilante-style, or demand punishment against those who are considered apostates or blasphemers. In Mauritania, for example, in 2015 after the Friday prayers, a group of angry protesters demanded the death penalty for blogger Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mkheitir. His offence? He dared to criticize slavery in Mauritania in an article, and argued that the Prophet and the traditional interpretation of Islam legitimize slavery."

Time Change: 9 things you didn’t know about DST around the world - "Egypt had four daylight saving time changes in 2010. It was meant to make the month of Ramadan (which fell during a hot summer that year) easier for Muslims... Egypt cut DST completely a year later... The Queen’s staff spend more than 50 hours adjusting 1,000 clocks across her residences"

Our Generation Needs to Stop Being Offended by Everything and Learn to Take a Joke - "When it comes to the easily offended set, most people tend to be reactive rather than proactive in their response. They may be quick to slam an article or a person, but they stop short of offering any proactive suggestion or trying to start a meaningful dialogue... people are often offended by things that are so minimal compared to the actual problems in the world to which they turn a blind eye. You don’t tend to see many people being ‘offended’ by the fact that there are starving children in third world countries, or making rambling Facebook posts about how access to clean water offends their sensibilities. Yet the second a joke or an ad is slightly offside in their eyes, they lash out like they’ve been a victim of the greatest injustice known to humankind."

The Backlash Against a New TTC Campaign Proves Society Has Become Way Too Sensitive - "The campaign, which officially launched yesterday, features dancers from the National Ballet of Canada in a series of photos and online videos dancing and posing in Toronto’s subway stations, on streetcars, and in buses... Jill Andrew, co-founder of the Body Confidence Canada Awards, says the images send the wrong messages about what healthy, self-secure TTC-riding human beings should look like... The Body Confidence Canada Awards is campaigning to have discrimination based on size and appearance made illegal in Ontario... What if the TTC campaign featured images of scrub-clad doctors instead? Under the reasoning that the images aren’t representative of the TTC-riding public, that wouldn’t accurately reflect the demographic of TTC riders either, not all of whom have the brains, dedication or resources to become doctors themselves if they wanted to."
Oppression is looking at people who are different from you
Addendum: Healthy living is fat shaming

New Australian $5 bill compared to 'clown puke' - "The yellow oval shapes on the bill are meant to depict the prickly-leaved wattle, a shrub native to the continent, but people thought they looked more like toilet brushes or bacteria"

Tintin in America pulled by Winnipeg Public Library pending review - "Controversy over the depiction of indigenous peoples in Tintin in America, a 1930s comic by the Belgian cartoonist Hergé, has spread to Winnipeg's library system, which has decided to remove the book from circulation for review. On the weekend a Chapters store in the city had removed copies of the title from its shelves following a complaint, but then restored them after determining the work did not violate its policies."
I'm sure the gay penguin defenders would be cheering the book being pulled because it's the right kind of censorship

Edmonton teacher fired for breaking 'no zero policy' won't get job back - "A veteran Edmonton teacher who was fired for giving zeros to students who didn't hand in their homework or take tests will get to keep money he was previously awarded but he won't get his job back... Several months after Dorval was fired, the school board reversed its no-zero policy that barred teachers from giving students a grade of zero."

Job interviews reward narcissists, punish applicants from modest cultures

Photographer gets punched by 30st gorilla in Rwanda - "Dominant males, such as Akarevuro, are known to often consume the bamboo stems in vast quantities with this period, making them rowdy and hostile. When in their stomach, the bamboo undergoes a process called fermentation, thereby transforming the fibres in alcohol, making the gorillas completely drunk if they eat too much."

Campus Chaos Makes Case Against Tenure - "The New York Times has published a remarkable op-ed by NYU humanities professor and vice provost Ulrich Baer making the Orwellian argument that campus administrations and student mobs are justified in forcibly shutting down right-wing speakers because… this allows more viewpoints to be heard!... Why should academia offer tenure if it is not institutionally committed to protecting a diversity of opinion?... if a university is not committed to free speech, tenure is simply a civil service protection rather than a statement about how seriously a university takes the importance of the right of its professors to think, publish and say what they think."

What Baer Gets Wrong About Free Speech - "In his recent piece for The New York Times, “What ‘Snowflakes’ Get Right about Free Speech,” Ulrich Baer offers a defense of student groups who disrupt campus speakers. Baer argues that freedom of speech means “balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community.” The obvious problem with Baer’s philosophy is that there is no objective criteria for evaluating the “inherent value” of any given viewpoint, nor for determining when it deprives another of recognized membership in a community. This problem of subjectivity is compounded by the ideological imbalance in higher education, which raises questions about the ability of liberal academics to collectively assess the merits of conservative speech. In recent years, students have attempted to interrupt a large number of speakers whose political views were deemed offensive for a variety of amorphous reasons. We cannot assume that students are capable of making correct judgments about these individuals’ views, based on what the read on the internet. Students’ chants at Middlebury College that labeled Charles Murray “anti-gay,” despite his public support for gay marriage, reveal the flaw in this assumption... Baer demonstrates a lack of understanding of the broad social consequences of political intolerance. One cannot simply pick and choose to whom tolerance and freedom of expression applies. The scientific research shows political intolerance infects the democratic system broadly. For example, intolerance towards racists on the General Social Survey is positively correlated with intolerance towards radical Muslims, communists, and other groups. Those who are intolerant of one group tend to be intolerant of others and of political communication in general. Gibson (1992) demonstrates that people perceive their political freedom to be limited in intolerant societies. Thus, intolerance creates a “culture of conformity” that suppresses political debate: “Without a culture that legitimizes political opposition, those outside the centrist mainstream have few political opportunities. Ultimately, the political system loses its democratic vitality”... A system that promotes intolerance of others will have the most severe consequences on those who lack political power"
That intolerance of one group (even one considered kosher to hate) is correlated with tolerance of others is telling

War on campus: The escalating battle over college free speech - "Assaults on college free speech have been waged for decades, but they used to be top-down, originating with government or school administrators. Today, experts say, students and faculty stifle speech themselves, especially if it involves conservative causes. Harvey Klehr, who helped bring controversial speakers to Emory during his 40 years as a politics and history professor, said the issues college students rally around today come "embarrassingly from the left."... Berkeley political science professor Jack Citrin began attending UCB in 1964 during the advent of the free speech movement, when Berkeley students "viewed ourselves as a beacon of the ability to handle all points of view."... "It's an indicator of the erosion of the commitment to open exchange and a retreat into psychobabble," Citrin said... The anger cuts both ways, said University of New Mexico sophomore Alexus Horttor. She recently saw the Arab owner of a hookah shop kick a student out of his store over a Trump bumper sticker. "People feel their way is the right way, and it's only their way," Horttor said... The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education maintains an incomprehensive database of more than 300 attempts to disinvite campus speakers since 2000. About three-quarters of the attempts involved pressure from liberal.. he did a stint in the US Navy before beginning college, and the experienced changed his views. "After putting five years down for this country, you realize you're defending all the laws that we stand for," Ginn said. "Otherwise, the past five years were a waste of my time.""

Jailed Muslim extremist Nadir Syed wins human rights case - "A jailed jihadi was put in segregation for plotting to behead prison guards – but a judge has ruled that the move breached his human rights. Nadir Syed, 24, was placed in isolation at the top-security Woodhill jail after he led other Muslim inmates in chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is Great’), banging on cell doors and threatening to decapitate warders. Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal that staff were warned not to be left alone with him to ‘prevent the risk of hostage-taking’, while Syed had also claimed he would ‘radicalise the whole unit’ in another prison"

SG-JB Hitch Driver | Grab Singapore - "CROSS THE CAUSEWAY, THE HITCH WAY
Save on your Johor Bahru - Singapore commute and make someone smile."

MUN prof refuses to wear device for hearing disabled student, cites religious reasons - "William Sears, 20, says Ranee Panjabi would not wear an FM transmitter system that he needs to hear lectures at the school in St. John's... Sears was looking forward to the History of Espionage course being taught by Panjabi, but had to switch to a different course after she refused to wear the device. He said Panjabi told him that a similar incident happened about 20 years earlier and it had been resolved that she wasn't required to wear the device. "She said she had some sort of agreement with the Blundon Centre or with the university saying she wouldn't have to wear an FM system because of religious reasons," he said."

There's a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious - "While many Western cuisines attempt to pair ingredients that share "flavor compounds"—the minute timbres that indicate something like types of sweetness or sourness or spiciness—Indian food's signature is that it combines ingredients that don't share these qualities at all. "We study food pairing in recipes of Indian cuisine to show that, in contrast to positive food pairing reported in some Western cuisines, Indian cuisine has a strong signature of negative food pairing," the researchers wrote. "[The] more the extent of flavor-sharing between any two ingredients, [the] lesser their co-occurrence"... each spice serves a very specific role in the dish it inhabits, from the warm sweetness of ginger to the slight bitterness of tamarind to the zingy freshness of cilantro. And it is the combination of many of these components—a typical Indian dish can incorporate a dozen different herbs and spices—that creates the flavor fingerprint that we've come to associate with a good plate of chana masala."

Income inequality: Rich Democrats don’t care about the problem any more than rich Republicans do. - "Even when they self-identify as progressive Democrats, elite Americans value equality less highly than their middle-class compatriots... When the American government abjures egalitarian policies, it is implementing the bipartisan preferences of the American elite"

German Professor Apologises For 'Rape Problem' Email To Indian Student - "she cited India's "rape problem" as the reason why she was rejecting his candidature... “Many female professors in Germany decided to no longer accept male students for these reasons, and currently other European female association are joining""
She should just have said she doesn't accept male students because of their rape problem

Owning a cat can lead to mental health problems, study warns - "people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) - characterised by explosive bouts of rage - are twice as likely to have been infected by a parasite found in cat faeces. The findings suggest that toxoplasmosis, an infection from the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, may alter people's brain chemistry to cause long-term behavior problems."
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