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Monday, June 05, 2017

Links - 5th June 2017 (2)

Faking diversity in art and literature produces caricatures, not characters - "the protagonist goes on and on about “Indians” as he walks around: Indians are cooking, Indian women are not looking at him because they are culturally trained not to look at men, Indian men are moving around, Indians are selling things, Indians are staring at him, Indians are talking, Indians are singing songs. There was no description of the individuals engaged in these various activities. In fact, there were no individuals, in the sense of characters who might look different, act different, speak differently, weigh-differently, wear traditional or western clothes and otherwise stand out from the rest of the crowd. They were nothing, but “Indians.” But how was this possible?... I was annoyed; not with him but with a culture that believes social justice can be achieved through tokenism. This practice promotes a discourse in which no cultural or racial minority can be defined without modifiers: if you are brown, you might be “a black man,” or “a brown guy” but never “a mean man” or “a cheerful guy.” In the process, minorities remain just minorities, they never come across as greedy, quarrelsome, adorable, sexy, kind, unkind, generous, talkative, intelligent, bashful, argumentative, people."

Some of the all-time best rants about doing business in France

French deemed 'too lazy' for Swiss recruiters - "Swiss recruitment firms are shunning French candidates because they are deemed "too lazy" and "arrogant" and have a penchant for ringing in sick on Mondays and Fridays... "There's always a problem. It's totally different with the Spanish and the Portuguese," the head of the recruitment tells the newspaper anonymously... To avoid breaking the laws Le Matin Dimanche said recruitment firms would often demand applicants must have a high level of German even when it is not needed, knowing this will reduce the chances of a French candidate applying. The Swiss newspaper also claims that Swiss banks are put off recruiting French workers, because they are worried they might turn into whistleblowers."

Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench - The Onion - America's Finest News Source - "At press time, a black-clad group of 50 students were throwing bottles at the bench while chanting, “No Nazis, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A!”"
When you make it to The Onion...

Hold My Beer: March for Science Defends ISIS as 'Marginalized People' - "the official March for Science Twitter account criticized the Trump Administration for bombing ISIS, claiming that the gigantic bomb we dropped on the terrorists is an "example of how science is weaponized against marginalized people."... The March for Science justified their position by pointing to their adherence to diversity principles. Let's pause a moment and reflect upon what ISIS terrorists do. ISIS terrorists brutally murder anyone, including other Muslims, who do not share their perverted worldview. They behead "infidels" and oppress women. Actually, "oppression" isn't even close to the right word for it"

Eight women are arrested in Iran for dressing up as men - "Islamic law in the country bans women from attending live matches when men are present and the group were detained at Tehran's Azadi Stadium... Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently issued the fatwa banning women from riding bikes in public, saying that it would attract the attention of males and is therefore forbidden. Among the other seemingly innocent acts that can result in being reprimanded include women uploading a photograph of them without a headscarf and posting a video of themselves singing."

Lego's adult fans claim discrimination over age limits at Melbourne playground - "Adult fans of Lego have threatened to lodge human rights complaints over age limits at Australia’s first Legoland Discovery Centre. Adults are unable to enter the centre unless accompanied by a child aged 17 or under, except on special adults-only nights once a month... Children are also required to be accompanied by an adult in the centre, which is aimed at children aged three to 10. News of the rule sparked discussion on social media about where childless Lego fans could acquire a child for the day to check out the long-awaited discovery centre... Under Victorian law it is an offence to discriminate on someone on the basis of their age or parental status, with reasonable exceptions. The Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, would not say whether being refused entry to “an indoor playground for children”, as Legoland described itself, would count as discrimination."

Bangkok Confusion: Street-Food Ban or Street-Food Festival? - "First of all, Bangkok, the world's street-food capital, announced that it was banning street food. Now it has emerged that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand want to hold a street-food festival in June. Even more confusingly, a statement published by the state-run National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT) says that street food will be "continually promoted" in the Thai capital. The announcement of the festival comes just days after the BMA reiterated its resolve to clear street vendors from all 50 districts of Bangkok."

Wi-Fi sex toy with built-in camera fails penetration test - "Sex toy designer Svakom decided that a vibrator needed a camera on the end, and it also needed a Wi-Fi access point – with the utterly predictable result that the device is hackable."

In Berkeley, Soda Tax Is Doing What It's Supposed To Do - "SSB consumption decreased by 21% and water consumption increased by more than 63% in Berkeley after the SSB tax"

Thai 'Sin City' finds abstaining from sex hard - ""The lady boys and women working there, they are not involved in the sex trade," said Pattaya's police chief Colonel Apichai Kroppeth, echoing the kind of Thai police rhetoric commonly divorced from reality. "They work as waitresses, sit and chat with customers, some dance in shows," he said. For many residents of the city the latest moral outrage fits a familiar pattern: negative overseas headlines prompt authorities to launch high-visibility - yet limited - crackdowns on an industry that pays the bills for everyone... While authorities have vowed to shutter the trade, there is little discussion on what happens to the sex workers - who often support large families with their earnings. There are no exact numbers, but a 2014 UNAIDS report suggested some 140,000 females are employed by sex work across Thailand. Tens of thousands are thought to operate in Pattaya alone."

Why daughters fight with their mothers - "Mothers want to protect their daughters, so they offer advice that they think will make their daughters' lives easier. Daughters, on the other hand, want approval from their mothers, so they interpret this advice as criticism, as proof that they're imperfect... Tannen identifies the three most common sources of friction in mother-daughter conversations: hair, clothes, and weight... a mother who's ashamed of her own mousy brown hair is likely to urge her daughter to get highlights. She's trying to fix in her daughter something she dislikes in herself."

A Renaissance painting reveals how breeding changed watermelons - "Stanchi's watermelon, which was painted sometime between 1645 and 1672, offers a glimpse of a time before breeding changed the fruit forever"

Quebec gave all parents cheap day care — and their kids were worse off as a result - "the authors find "a significant worsening in self-reported health and in life satisfaction among teens" who grew up exposed to the program* along with a "sharp and contemporaneous increase in criminal behavior among the cohorts exposed to the Quebec program, relative to their peers in other provinces"... "participation in the program [also] reduces the incidence of behavioral problems, health problems, and obesity of male children at ages 12 and 13," and the results stand up later in life, with analysis suggesting that Head Start "lowers depression and obesity among adolescents, and it reduces engagement in criminal activities and idleness for young adults."... low-quality child care isn't just worse than high-quality child care. It's worse than no child care."

Think Americans fear vaccines? Check out the French. - "Some of the poorest countries and regions of the world had the most trust in vaccine safety, while wealthy Europeans — who also have some of the best access to immunizations — fared terribly... Many of the countries with a lot of vaccine denialism are also places with strong beliefs in homeopathic and alternative medicines. "In France, if you go into most pharmacies, they will have a good portion of the store dedicated to homeopathy," Larson says... By contrast, she thinks the higher trust in vaccines in many poorer countries in Africa and Asia may be attributed to the fact that the diseases vaccines prevent are still common there"

The automation myth - "The 2015 Economic Report of the President calculated that if productivity growth had continued at its 1948–1973 pace for the past 40 years, the average household's income would be $30,000 higher today. By contrast, had inequality stayed at its 1973 level for the same period, Obama's Council of Economic Advisers calculates that the average household's income would be only $9,000 higher. The productivity issue is bigger than inequality, in other words. And yet it's much less discussed. In fact, it's almost anti-discussed due to the obsession in media and political circles with the alleged rise of the robots... The real threat is precisely the opposite — that the per-hour productivity of the American worker won't increase at a more rapid rate. If you've ever heard a dreary lecture about the "entitlement crisis," that is the world they are talking about. The American population is aging and is projected to continue aging. In other words, the ratio of working-age people to retired people is falling. That means that we will have to either reduce the living standards of the elderly by cutting their benefits, or reduce the living standards of the non-elderly by raising their taxes or cutting spending on programs they depend on."

What research on English dukes can teach us about why the rich live longer - "The famous Whitehall studies of the British Civil Service established a link between the relative rank of officer and their risk of disease and death. The higher the rank, the higher the income, the better the health. Studies on Oscar winners found they live four years longer than lowly nominees. A somewhat humorous finding: The size of gravestones has been linked with life spans. The larger the stone, the longer the life... The researchers found limited evidence to support the notion that access to health care, environmental factors, social cohesion, or local labor market conditions drive the gaps in life expectancy. Instead, they did find that life expectancy among the poorest individuals was "significantly correlated" with health behaviors like smoking, obesity, and exercise... Low-income individuals lived the longest (and had more healthy behaviors) in cities like New York and San Francisco with populations that are, on average, well educated, and high-income. In these places, poorer people seemed to behave more like wealthier folks... "The economists say that if people chose to smoke they chose to smoke and they like it that way. Sociologists think people have no choice — society does it.""

HuffPost Writer Horrified To Learn She’s 30% White & Only 0.6% Native American - "it appears the true horror came when she realized she was – gasp – part white."

Frightening power of abuse by Huffington Post - René Zografos - "all hell broke loose because I wrote a sincere story about immigration issues Sweden have. I posted the article on the new contributor platform at Huffington Post, where they emphasize that writers have editorial responsibility. In retrospect, I gave them a dozen sources to corroborate the facts in the story. But they still deleted the article, and after a while they deleted all my earlier blog posts I had written for them. This is a direct censorship of my freedom to speech. The press responsibility is to show integrity, especially when one does not agree with the contents of the case one writes. The press should also take responsibility and stand up for injustices against the common man in the street. But in this case Huffington Post has failed its responsibility totally – and probably for political reasons. Generally speaking, this is very sad for Americans who want to know what goes on in their society"

Naked photos leaked online after hundreds of Chinese women are forced to send nude selfies to loan sharks as a ‘guarantee’ they’ll pay back the cash

Single-Parent Families Cause Juvenile Crime - "The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency reports that the most reliable indicator of violent crime in a community is the proportion of fatherless families. Fathers typically offer economic stability, a role model for boys, greater household security, and reduced stress for mothers. This is especially true for families with adolescent boys, the most crime-prone cohort. Children from single-parent families are more prone than children from two-parent families to use drugs, be gang members, be expelled from school, be committed to reform institutions, and become juvenile murderers. Single parenthood inevitably reduces the amount of time a child has in interaction with someone who is attentive to the child's needs, including the provision of moral guidance and discipline. According to a 1993 Metropolitan Life Survey, "Violence in America's Public Schools," 71 percent of teachers and 90 percent of law enforcement officials state that the lack of parental supervision at home is a major factor that contributes to the violence in schools. Sixty-one percent of elementary students and 76 percent of secondary children agree with this assessment."
If policies discouraging single parenthood punish them and their children, what about anti-anti-vaxxer policies like childcare bans?
If compulsory vaccination is justified to prevent harm to others...

Addendum: Of course feminists just defend single parent families and blame "toxic masculinity", i.e. men

100 Days: If The 2016 Election Were Held Again, Clinton Would Drop Six Points And Trump Would Still Win - "while Trump would retain almost all of his support if the election were held again today (96 percent), fewer of Clinton's supporters say they'd stick with her (85 percent), producing a 40-43 percent Clinton-Trump result in this hypothetical re-do among self-reported 2016 voters. That's not because former Clinton supporters would now back Trump; only 2 percent of them say they'd do so, similar to the 1 percent of Trump voters who say they'd switch to Clinton. Instead, they're more apt to say they'd vote for a third-party candidate or wouldn't vote. In a cautionary note to her party, Clinton's 6-point drop in a hypothetical mulligan election relates to views of whether the Democratic Party is in touch with peoples' concerns.Although the sample sizes are small, those who say the party is out of touch are less likely to say they'd support Clinton again, compared with those who see it as in touch. Still, there's no strong evidence that defectors primarily come from groups that favored Bernie Sanders in the primary... not only would Trump have won again—he also would have won the popular vote. Can Democrats finally admit that Hillary Clinton was the worst choice to lead the Democratic ticket? She was weak, unlikable, had no message, and the subject of a criminal FBI investigation. It’s more explicit than ever"

'Intimidation and unfair campaigning' put Turkey referendum 'below international standards' - "Officials pointed to an inadequate legal framework and last-minute changes in counting the ballots, as well as a "skewed pre-vote campaign" in favour of the "yes" vote and intimidation of the opposition. The remark followed 51.4 per cent of Turks voting in favour of changing their constitution and granting President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, including re-introducing the death penalty and personally appointing ministers and half of the judicial body."... The High Electoral Board in Turkey made a late decision on the night of the referendum to count ballots that had not been stamped by officials, which observers said undermined important safeguards against fraud. Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, claimed the decision was made after it appeared the "no" votes were ahead of the "yes" votes, and that initial counting of the ballots happened in secret."

Kyrgyzstan touted as ideal delivery hub for Santa - "Seeking a novel remedy to revive its rickety economy, the tiny ex-Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan has declared itself the new home of Santa Claus. Citing Swedish engineering firm that determined the ideal spot for Santa's global toy delivery hub, officials in this predominantly Muslim country have quickly moved to capitalize on the finding. They named a mountain peak after Santa, to join Mounts Lenin, and Yeltsin, and declared 2008 "The Year of Santa Claus"."
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