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Sunday, July 02, 2017

Links - 2nd July 2017 (2)

Virtual Boyfriends Are a Thing Now - "While it's true that some people basically have virtual boyfriends when they engage in months or years' long online relationships with people they've never met, these apps bring virtual companionship to another level."
This is the female equivalent (at the very least) of sex dolls/robots

McDonald's "organic" prank for foodies: Two Dutch pranksters play trick at a food expo (VIDEO). - "several people’s insistence that the food tastes more “pure” than McDonald’s just goes to show that “pure” (like “clean”) is a moral concept that’s practically meaningless with regard to food, and that your beliefs about what you’re eating will absolutely affect your experience of eating it."

The biggest political lie of 2016. - "We are in post-truth politics. It’s not me saying this, though. This dire warning isn’t about Donald Trump, or Brexit, or the news media covering either, or the tiny reality bubbles of the internet. This is the oldest complaint in the history of political theory, screaming at us from the discipline’s frantic infancy. It’s Plato, writing in the 400s B.C. And he was wrong. Plato was also, incidentally, the first notable person to complain that music used to be good back in his day but that kids now will listen to any old junk... At most, one form of lies is losing ground to another. In 2003, when we were told that half the world could be obliterated by Iraqi weapons within 45 minutes, were we still in pre-post-truth politics? At the start of this decade, when governments across Europe did everything to convince us that a global financial crisis had been caused by giving too much money to disabled people—was that also part of the lost golden age? When we entered the First World War to stop Belgian babies from being impaled on bayonets? When kings ruled by divine right? We have always been in post-truth politics. The first written texts of political theory are a lament that questions of government are no longer ruled by transcendent, objective fact... a politics consisting of facts and nothing else isn’t politics, but management. This is what our politics are actually turning into: rule by experts and fatalism. There are hyperbolic versions: Neil deGrasse Tyson’s imagined country of “Rationalia,” for instance, where the primary constitutional principle is that all policy decisions are to be based on the collection of data and scientific standards of evidence, so that you’d have to run a trial on the arbitrary execution of dozens of innocent people before deciding that it’s a bad idea (or, a horrifying possibility, discovering that according to some emotionless utilitarian calculus it’s actually a good one). But stripped-back versions of Rationalia are all around us... When truth is all that matters, there’s no room for any vision of a better life. All you end up with is a system in which the rulers are the ones with the most information, who know the ins and outs of the machine, and are sporadically capable of keeping it running. And if it’s a machine for grinding up human bodies into a profitable paste, then that’s just the reality of things."

Financial abortion: Should men be able to 'opt out' of parenthood? - "as a feminist, I support men being able to opt out of fatherhood early in a pregnancy via what is known as a financial abortion. I believe a woman should not be forced to become a mother any more than a man should be forced to become a father. If a man has not said, "I want to have a child with you now-ish", it is fair to assume he doesn't, and therefore should be able to legally withdraw from becoming a parent. It would also be less traumatic for children, and more empowering for women... "Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception but men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice"... Society needs to stop infantilizing women. Women are responsible for their choices and actions and can choose to have an abortion, adopt out or sole parent on their own. A pregnancy is not a "magical blessing" — it's a biological consequence"
The same arguments that are rejected when it comes to preventing women from having abortions (e.g. if you have sex, you are responsible for what happens) are marshalled against men who want to opt out

Private school vs. public school: Only bad people send their kids to private school.
This is not a parody

Porn is like alcohol—whether it’s bad for you depends on who you are - "Malamuth has conducted research showing that, among men who are already at risk for sexual aggression, watching pornography is an added risk factor... Taylor Kohut, a psychology postdoctoral fellow at Western University, published a study last year showing that those who watched porn had no less egalitarian views than non-users."

PC Hysteria Claims Another Professor - "The letter, written by five of Quenette’s students—some, but not all of them, black—alleges that Quenette violated the university’s policies prohibiting racial discrimination. Images of the professor disparaging minority students, or giving them lower grades, come to mind. But Quenette did nothing of the sort. What she did was make the mistake of using the n-word—during a discussion in which she was admitting her own shortcomings about race. She didn’t use the word maliciously: She was, quite literally, checking her privilege. Isn’t that exactly what far-left students want from their classmates, administrators, and professors?... One can hold the position, I suppose, that it is never OK to utter the n-word, even in a merely explanatory way. I would argue that doing so gives the word additional power to inspire fear, like saying “You Know Who” instead of “Voldemort.”"
The University of Kansas is a public university. So this is not an elite college phenomenon

Confessions of a Sydney surgeon: why your operation may not work - "Our research unit reviewed all orthopaedic surgical procedures performed in three large public hospitals in our local area and found that of about 9000 procedures performed, only about half of the operations performed had been compared to non-operative treatment in randomised trials."

Rise in marriages of equals helps fuel divisions by class - "The Don Drapers of the world used to marry their secretaries. Now they marry fellow executives, who could very well earn more than they do... Marriages in which the woman earns more are less likely to form in the first place, which accounts for 23 percent of the overall decline in marriage rates since 1970, according to a large study by the economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica of the University of Chicago and Jessica Pan of the National University of Singapore... When such marriages do form, the women become more likely to seek jobs beneath their potential or to stop working entirely, and the marriages are more likely to end in divorce."

Cologne New Year gang assaults: Mayor says women should have code of conduct to prevent future assault - "Mayor Henriette Reker enraged people by focusing on women’s actions instead of the men who carried out the assault"

German minister 'told police to remove the word rape from Cologne sex assault report'

How Did This Sushi Restaurant CEO Help Destroy Somalian Pirates? - "Kimura suggested to the pirates they should catch some tunas in the same ocean where they were attacking vessels, and make money that way. Kimura went out of his way to provide ships and skills required for tuna fishing. He also assisted in the process of them joining the IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission)."

TSA Doesn’t Care That Its Luggage Locks Have Been Hacked - "In a spectacular failure of a “back door” designed to give law enforcement exclusive access to private places, hackers have made the “master keys” for Transportation Security Administration-recognized luggage locks available to anyone with a 3D printer... Most security experts and computer scientists believe backdoors for law enforcement inevitably make systems less secure, and easier for bad actors to break into."

Kim Kardashian Just Revealed She Uses Tons Of Tape To Get Great Boobs - "Great boobs do not just ~happen~. They are MADE."

Are women really better coders than men? - "Yes, it is true that outsider women with gender-neutral identities have a higher chance of getting their code approved compared to women with gendered identities. However, the media has conveniently ignored the fact that this applies to men too, although the drop for women seems to be higher. In addition, the difference between outsider men and women with gendered identities might be trivial. It’s around one percent, and it’s possibly due to chance. Now here’s the clincher: among insiders, there’s no evidence of discrimination against women. In fact, the reverse is true: women who are on the inside and whose genders are easy to discern get more of their code approved, and to a statistically significant degree... The researchers themselves acknowledged that they left out a crucial part of the research which showed that women coders are in fact harder on fellow women, and men stricter on men."

MUIS ‘oversees all Muslim matters, courts not in position to interfere’ - "The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) is the only body that oversees all Muslim matters, including the administration of Muslim charitable trusts, and the courts are in no position to interfere unless MUIS deems it appropriate to seek judicial assistance, the High Court has found."
Is Singapore a secular state?

Couple fail in attempt to rob Malaysian goldsmith's shop with hammer and chilli powder - "The man started pounding on the glass with a hammer while his female accomplice reportedly sprinkled chilli powder over the display, but the glass did not break."

Roommate Spends Months Hiding Masturbation Efforts Only To Create A Phallic Fungi Time Bomb. - "this image comes to the Internet from Indonesia, and TemiTemoy blames the conservative culture of that country (in part) for the disgusting situation he finds himself in now. Temi said basically the roommate never emptied out the bin in order to keep Temi from finding out the he masturbated"

Video: German pensioners 'attacked by migrants after defending young woman' - Telegraph

Scottish parliament has to consider legalising incest due to loophole in the devolution agreement - "Under the terms of devolution, the Scottish parliament has to consider all petitions if the propose a change in the law"

Some people are blaming 'magical shape-shifting Jews' for the Paris attacks, apparently - "Daily Beat reporter Dana Kennedy was speaking on the show about her experience talking to French Muslims in the ‘suburbs’ of Paris – the low-income housing projects – in the wake of the attack on the headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo."... ‘I talked to a cross-section of mainly French-Algerian young men who said it was, pretty much, they felt, the attacks were actually a conspiracy by the Jews to make Muslims look bad and they told me – at least one person told me – that they weren’t just regular Jews doing this. In fact they were a race of magical Jews, shape-shifting Jews that were master-manipulators and could be everywhere at the same time.’ Oddly, Ms Kennedy doesn’t follow this up by saying how absurd that notion is, but instead goes on to talk about how ‘nice’ these ‘dangerous’ parts of the city are, specifically how ‘pristine’ one branch of McDonald’s is."

This guy is giving away an around-the-world plane ticket to anyone with his ex girlfriend's name - "Jordan Axani booked a round-the-world trip with his girlfriend so he could spend Christmas gazing into her eyes across a bowl of deep-fried locusts in Bangkok. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, after booking the trip in March, the pair then broke up, leaving Mr Axani with a spare ticket in the name of his Canadian ex-girlfriend."

Elizabeth Gallagher returns from world trip, but was there romance? - Telegraph - "Now the pair are back, but anyone who was hoping for an ever sweeter ending to the tale will be disappointed – they have insisted that there was no romance"

Canada Lets Makayla Sault Die of Leukemia Over Religious Sensitivity - "The so-called “right to pursue traditional medicine” is simply an unwarranted respect for faith, a “right” to impose the religious or superstitious beliefs of parents on their young, indoctrinated, or unreflective children. It is the “right” to harm children in the name of faith. And that “right” doesn’t exist for parents who simply impose quack cures on their children, for those parents can be jailed for child abuse, negligence, or even manslaughter."
Anti-racism kills

Woman wearing 'Stop Domestic Violence' T-shirt arrested for domestic violence

Cruelest extra credit question ever? - " the entire class would get at least two points of extra credit, but only if less than 10 percent of students took the six points option."

450 of 452 suicide attacks in 2015 were by Muslim extremists, study shows - "There were fewer suicide attacks worldwide in 2015 than 2014, “only” 452 as compared with 592, according to a new report by an Israeli research team. But drawing conclusions from a mere comparison of the overall figures is “not smart,” cautions Yoram Schweitzer, the head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. For one thing, the 2014 figure was strikingly high (2013 saw a markedly lower 382 suicide attacks), so nobody should start feeling encouraged... Not surprisingly, the Islamic State continues to play a leading role in Schweitzer’s study this year as well, with 174 of 2015’s 452 suicide attacks attributed to it. The Islamic State took responsibility for 75 of them; 74 are attributed to Islamic State in Iraq and another 25 in Syria (without direct responsibility). This number does not include the terror attacks that were carried out by “the auxiliaries” of IS — including 134 suicide attacks that were carried out by members of Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyya and Wilayat Sinai. Just for the sake of comparison, al-Nusra Front took responsibility for only four suicide attacks. The participation of al-Qaeda, with its many affiliated groups the world over, in suicide attacks grew weaker this year, continuing a trend that was noticed in 2014. Of course, we cannot avoid mentioning the religious element as the most significant factor that motivates the suicide terrorists throughout the world. Here’s the most dramatic statistic: 450 of 452 suicide terror attacks in 2015 were perpetrated by Muslim extremists. One of the remaining two attacks was carried out by the Kurdish underground. The other was perpetrated by a woman supporter of a leftist group in Turkey."

Texas eighth-grader suspended for rescuing classmate during asthma attack - The Washington Post - "The girl told classmates that she was having an asthma attack, but her teacher refused to let anyone leave the classroom, according to NBC affiliate KCEN. Instead, the teacher emailed the school nurse and waited for a reply, telling students to stay calm and remain in their seats... the 15-year-old Gateway Middle School student carried his stricken classmate to the nurse’s office, violating his teacher’s orders."

BBC World Service - The World This Week, US puts missile defences in South Korea - "President Trump's unpredictability can be an asset. And it enables China and the US to play good cop, bad cop. You can imagine Beijing saying to Pyongyang... this guy's crazy and he may just do it. You really need to give him something...
What we really don't know, the great uncertainty on this planet is how President Trump's mind works. Is he simply acting on impulse and ego as his critics say? Or is there something deeper going on whereby he has these Twitter tantrums but actually he knows the effect of them"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Is liberalism in crisis? - "Half of the population don't think they're middle class any longer and to be American is almost by definition to be middle class"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Meet the 105-year-old doctor - "If the Americans had arrived in Japan itself from Philippines, that's what they going to do. The emperor had given the order that all prisoners of war wherever there were and that was 120,000 were, had to be shot that day, which was, we learnt that afterwards but we wondered why suddenly the radio ground [?] where we had to parade every morning at six o'clock there were these machine gun posts set up and we thought well that will be the end of us but the atom bomb saved our lives"

The Reformation | Podcast | History Extra - "The Church is always decadent and corrupt in every age. Ecclesia semper reformanda was a Reformation slogan, but it was also an idea that was current in the Middle Ages. So the Church, it's made up of human beings and wherever there is power, there is abuse... It's one of the paradoxes of the Reformation that everybody agreed that the officials of the church were corrupt, that many of its institutions were corrupt. That is not what Luther attacked. Luther called for a doctrinal transformation... for the previous thousand years whenever anybody wanted to reform Christianity they founded monasteries. The idea was that you got people who were so dedicated to Christianity that they set aside family life, lived austerely, renounced comfort and so the monastic life had been seen as the spearhead of reform. The reformers abolished it altogether... one of the motivating factors in Moore's hatred of heresy - and hatred's not too strong word - was that he believed that value - moral. religious. social value - came from operating within a consensus. An ancient consensus of the whole Christian people, and he saw Protestants as proudly rejecting the wisdom of the ages and the consensus of the society around them. He saw them as a kind of anarchist who was like a worm eating away at the inside of the agreed foundations of society. So he certainly thought that the reformation tenets would dissolve Christendom. And in practical terms that is what happened. That the Reformation did unleash more than a century of European civil war with the breakdown of the idea that just as there was one spiritual leader, the Pope, who could adjudicate on truth, there was one political order with at the head of it the Emperor who could call other Christian kings to order if they deviated from objective truth"
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