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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Links - 24th November 2017 (3)

Teachers have the right to sleep with their students, Alabama judge rules - "An Alabama law barring teachers from having sex with their students was ruled unconstitutional Thursday by a state judge who also dismissed charges against two instructors who were facing 20 years behind bars for sleeping with students"

How common 'cat parasite' gets into human brain and influences human behavior - "human dendritic cells were infected with toxoplasma. After infection, the cells, which are a key component of the immune defence, started secreting the signal substance GABA. In another experiment on live mice, the team was able to trace the movement of infected dendritic cells in the body after introducing the parasite into the brain, from where it spread and continued to affect the GABA system. GABA is a signal substance that, amongst other effects, inhibits the sensation of fear and anxiety. Disturbances of the GABA system are seen in people with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar diseases, anxiety syndrome and other mental diseases"
Possible mechanism of toxoplasmosis in humans

'What if Paris attacker was treated like those who attack Jews?' - "CRIF on Wednesday posted on Facebook a tongue-in-cheek statement, questioning whether authorities would place under psychiatric evaluation a suspect who fled after ramming six police officers with his car in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret... It was a provocative reference to the handling by authorities and the media of the slaying of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, in April by a Muslim man who was sent to observation as per his insanity plea even though he has no record of mental illness. He shouted about Allah while killing Halimi, his neighbor, whose daughter he allegedly once called a “dirty Jewess.”"

Muslim Immigrants Draining European Social Benefits* - "An estimated 40% of Muslim youth in France and 50% in Germany are unemployed but far from destitute. Rather, they receive a wide range of social benefits. For example, an estimated 40% of welfare outlays in Denmark go to the 5% of the population that is Muslim. According to Otto Schily, former German interior minister, speaking of immigrants in general: “Seventy percent of the newcomers [since 2002] land on welfare the day of their arrival.” In Sweden, perhaps the most acute case, immigrants are estimated at 1.5 million out of 10 million people; immigration is estimated to cost almost $14 billion per year. These high levels of welfare are accompanied by high levels of unemployment. Nor has this situation improved; rather, it is deteriorating. According to analyst Christopher Caldwell: “In the early 1970s, 2 million of the 3 million foreigners in Germany were in the labor force; by the turn of this century, 2 million of 7.5 million were.”"

What's wrong with monorails - "A railroad network is practical when it allows to be networked, that is, when severail rail lines are combined. Combining severail rail lines means that there will be several tracks which will be interconnected at junctions. Junctions need a way of having vehicles go from one track to the other; this is usually done through switches. It is plainly obvious that the network flexibility will be directly proportional to the number of switches. In return, the complexity of individual switches will directly influence the number of switches that can be installed, and thus, the very efficiency of the rail network. The main problem with monorails is precisely the complexity of their switches"

School bans senior yearbook quotes that ‘reference religion, politics or … similar controversial matters’ - "Senior Kate Geib told WYFF she submitted Psalm 18:2 for her yearbook quote, but was told via text message from the school’s yearbook staff on Tuesday that she’d have to change it. “’The Lord is my rock’ – and that’s something that’s rang true throughout my life,” she said, adding that she didn’t think the line was offensive."
People on reddit were getting very upset about 2 gay students' yearbook quotes being removed because they were potentially offensive

I smiled at a woman. This means I'm a sexist - "Apparently, men who displayed “benevolent sexism” while playing a trivia game were considered more approachable, warmer, friendlier and more likely to smile. So, boiled down, this study concluded thus: the nice guys are actually the most sexist guys. The researchers went on to warn that this “benevolent sexism” was harder to spot than the hostile version... chivalry is dead – and modern feminism is directly to blame... This is petrol for a Men’s Rights Activist’s bonfire. Why go there, unless the goal is to deliberately enflame men – whom you can then dismiss as hostile and sexist. Round and round we go"

The ideological opposition to biological truth - "These claims are based not on biological data, but on ideological fears of the Left: if we admit of such differences, it could foster racism and sexism. Thus. any group differences we do observe, whether they reside in psychology, physiology, or morphology, are to be explained on first principle as resulting from culture rather than genes... In humans, as in many other species in which males compete for females, the sex ratio at birth favors males. They then die off at a higher rate due to higher risk-taking and exploratory behavior, until at reproductive age (about 25), the sex ratio is equal. Then, as males continue to die off, the sex ratio reverses, becoming female-biased at greater ages. This is exactly what evolutionary theory predicts: if there are biological differences in mortality rates, then evolution will adjust the sex ratio so it’s equal at the time of reproduction."

Layla in Real Life: 10 Songs Written About Pattie Boyd - "Harrison and Boyd married two years later, but the beloved Beatle wasn't the only iconic rock star who was vying for Boyd's attention, and putting pen to paper to craft songs about her. Guitar deity Eric Clapton, one of Harrison's best friends, also fell madly in love with Boyd, and wrote much of Derek and the Dominos' 1970 album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, about Boyd and his forbidden love."

Study discovers forcing a smile at work is bad - "An NUS Business School study found that those who engage in ‘surface acting’ such as forcing a smile in front of customers had less self-control and tend to be more abusive towards their staff."

Contra Sadedin & Varinsky: the Google memo is still right, again - "contrary to what the article says, the article does not deny (nor confirms, fair)a genetic origin for the personality differences that the paper finds. But what is more damning, the paper does say that
the general pattern of gender differences is similar across cultures, there is also variation across cultures, especially in the magnitude of gender differences.
Also, if you cite Hyde (2004), don’t forget Hyde (2014)... The second paragraph is facepalm-inducing. The paragraph she quotes is part of the introduction, where theories are presented. It is not a conclusion. In the exact same section it also presents the other view... Isn’t this enough for you? The biological hypothesis predicts a pattern. The sociocultural hypothesis predicts another pattern. The observed pattern is the first one. How on Earth does the sociocultural hypothesis explains that the differences survive turning the dials of sexism from the minimum to the maximum? Only if you consider that, say Sweden and India are equally regressive in terms of how they view and treat women you could still maintain that it is culture. To people who think that, I just say sapienti sat"

Psychological safety - Wikipedia - "Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. It can be defined as "being able to show and employ one's self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career" (Kahn 1990, p. 708). In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected. It is also the most studied enabling condition in group dynamics and team learning research."
When you fire people who disagree like Google does...

History of the Baguette: Legends, Laws, and Lengthy Loaves - "In 1793, the Convention (the post-Revolution government) made a law stating:
“Richness and poverty must both disappear from the government of equality.
It will no longer make a bread of wheat for the rich and a bread of bran for the
poor. All bakers will be held, under the penalty of imprisonment, to make only
one type of bread: The Bread of Equality.”
Some might propose that since the baguette is enjoyed by rich and poor alike, it could have been this Bread of Equality. It’s a charming theory and a very French idea of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, but could this law truly have created the forerunner of our beloved baguette?... Those long breads that made such an impression on nineteenth century tourists must have been the forerunner of today’s more manageably sized baguette. The modern, shorter version seems to have come into being in the 1920s, when a law was passed prohibiting bakers from working between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. The current baguette was probably developed because its thin form allowed it to cook faster"

Pierre Brassau: The Chimp Who Fooled Art Critics - "Unless you’re well-versed in art history, chances are it’s hard for you to tell a good abstract painting from a bad one. In fact, no one really expects you to. On the other hand, if you were, say, a fancy art critic, you shouldn’t get easily fooled by amateur works posing as greats, especially if said works were made by a chimpanzee, right? Well, that’s exactly that’s exactly what happened back in Sweden in 1964. After World War II, the art world took a turn for the abstract, a movement that featured artists like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. To the lay person, these paintings were strange and nonsensical, but art critics were eating them up. Noticing this strange trend, Swedish journalist Åke “Dacke” Axelsson decided to test these critics by seeing if they could tell the difference between the work of a real abstract artist and a chimpanzee. To do so, Axelsson hit up the local zoo to find an artist. He landed on Peter, a four-year-old chimpanzee...
To his surprise, the critics adored Peter’s paintings. In fact, one even went on to say:
Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.
Thinking that his hoax had worked, Axelsson revealed that Pierre Brassau, the upcoming post-modern artist, was actually Peter the chimpanzee from the Boras Zoo. Instead of reacting in anger, the critics were even more enthralled with the works, which even led to one of Peter’s paintings getting sold to a collector."

7 Things You Need To Know About The Charlottesville Violence And White Supremacist Terror Attack - "The Alt-Right Has Been Tut-Tutted By President Trump And His Advisors For Over A Year. Yesterday Was Nothing New. President Trump’s initial response to the attack in Charlottesville made no mention of the alt-right or white supremacy or even of racism. He simply stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America”...
Antifa was violent in Charlottesville. That’s not according to me; that’s according to Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times... Antifa has trafficked in hate and violence for over a year now — we all remember how they’ve been assaulting people asserting their free speech rights in Berkeley, and how they have been engaged in street fights with alt-righters in places like Sacramento... Charlottesville, Sacramento, Berkeley — we’re watching a microcosmic re-enactment of Weimar Republic brownshirt-vs.-reds violence in real-time, complete with the same flags being flown"

VIDEO: Protesters Attacked Charlottesville Driver's Car With Baseball Bat - "Citizen researchers have slowed the video down and spotted an African American individual hitting the car with what appears to be a baseball bat before the suspect hit the crowd with his vehicle. One such video posted to Streamable shows the driver slowing down, then accelerating quickly after his rear bumper is struck with the baseball bat... it was revealed by a journalist who spoke to numerous officers at a police station in Charlottesville, Virginia that numerous officers believed the act was not malicious, and was done out of fear... To recap: The protesters were standing in the middle of the street, blocking traffic. The car was attacked with a blunt object resembling a baseball bat by a protester. The vehicle was not speeding until a the protester attacked and the mob of people closed in on the driver."

Libs Shun NYT Writer For Daring To Report On Antifa Violence In Virginia - "New York Times White House Correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg has been denounced by several liberals online for daring to report on the violence being committed by Antifa members at the chaotic ‘Unite The Right’ rally... Meanwhile at CNN, the network’s Van Jones dismissed Antifa’s violence altogether, insisting that because the group didn’t kill anyone yesterday, their actions aren’t worth condemnation."

Former KKK leader David Duke strikes out at Trump for condemning a white nationalist rally: ‘It was White Americans who put you in the presidency’
This won't stop liberals from condemning Trump as a KKK supporter

What Singapore is saying by expelling China hand Huang Jing - "It marked the first time in more than two decades that Singapore had publicly booted out an alleged functionary of a foreign power for interference in its domestic affairs... career diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School, when he wrote an article urging Singapore to “exercise discretion” and “be very restrained in commenting on matters involving great powers”. He mentioned in particular the China-Philippines maritime dispute, saying that it “would have been wiser to be more circumspect”. A ton of bricks fell on Mahbubani. His highly influential former colleague Bilahari Kausikan called his argument “muddled, mendacious and indeed dangerous”. The powerful Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said it was “questionable, intellectually” and ran contrary to the thinking of the late Lee Kuan Yew."

Chelsea Handler Warns U.S. Generals: Remove Trump Or Posterity Will Hate You - "One wonders exactly what the prophetic Handler envisions when she writes that the generals should remove Trump. Does she mean forcibly remove him? Does she mean executing some non-Constitutional option by which they remove him without sending in the armed services?"

The cultural revolution on Western campuses - "But after living in China for six years, and observing from a distance the illiberal tendencies present on many university campuses in the West, some historical parallels do illuminate the contemporary situation. That is to say, it is not mere rhetorical bluster to suggest that the student-led witch-hunts against academics who criticise their politics, the student-dictated curriculum changes, the prevalence of trigger warnings and so on, carry an echo of events in 20th-century China... we see Yale faculty member Nicholas Christakis and his wife having to endure a verbal haranguing by students and then being forced to resign, all because they questioned the no-offence culture on campus. In another strange parallel to the Cultural Revolution, Ji, who was brutalised and beaten for many years, continued to pay his Communist Party dues throughout... Nadine Strossen, author, law professor and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, warns that ‘free speech is being limited by making speech unsafe to listen to’."

How political correctness rules in America’s student 'safe spaces’ - " Jeannie Suk, a professor at Harvard Law School, which numbers President Barack Obama among its many notable alumni, cited an example where a student had asked a colleague “not to use the word 'violate’ – as in 'does this conduct violate the law’ – because the term might trigger distress”... “The language of trauma, which started as a term to describe extreme events, started to be used much more loosely,” Prof Suk said. “So trauma is now colloquially used to mean lots of different things including non-extreme, even everyday events.”... Lecturers unhappy with this state of affairs blame the US department of education for allowing student angst to morph into a tyranny that has many professors running scared... A professor of English and film studies at San Bernardino Valley College in California was punished for requiring his class to write essays defining pornography, according to Ms Strossen. This summer, Louisiana State University sacked a professor of early childhood education because she swore and used humour about sex when she was teaching about sexuality, often to capture her students’ attention. The policies caused such anger that 28 Harvard Law School professors signed a petition criticising the department of education’s measures as unfair to professors... That in turn spawned a backlash from some students, who accused the teachers of trying to halt progress."

Universities warned over 'snowflake' student demands - "Universities are increasingly nervous about doing anything that will create overt dissatisfaction among students because they are being told that student satisfaction is key"
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