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Friday, December 29, 2017

Links - 29th December 2017 (2)

Singaporean family detained in Dubai cell with criminals - "Dubai spelt danger for several innocent Singaporeans after authorities there arrested them for reasons that were later proven to be false or unsubstantiated. Including the latest case of a family wrongly detained on Christmas Eve, there have been three other cases from 2010 to last year... They spent nine months in jail, during which the woman suffered a miscarriage because of the jail conditions... The Singapore Consulate-General in Dubai found out about the case only when they were contacted by the couple for emergency travel documents. This was at the end of their period of detention as the authorities had misplaced their passports."

Do Seasoned Runners Burn Fewer Calories Than Newbies? - "well-trained runners burn five to seven percent fewer calories than their nonathletic counterparts. A run you did as a newbie athlete that burned 500 calories, for example, might burn 465 to 475 calories when you’re better trained, assuming you’ve stayed the same weight"

The Planned Parenthood controversy over aborted fetus body parts, explained - "In a 1991 article, a team of four bioethicists including Caplan summarize the objections to fetal tissue research succinctly:
The transplantation of tissue from an electively aborted fetus is morally inseparable from the morality of elective abortion.
Fetal tissue transplant will cause more abortions.
Fetal tissue transplant will change how doctors do abortions.
Fetal tissue transplant will cause women to abort in order to donate."
If you see abortion as a necessary evil, e.g. you want it "safe, legal and rare", there is no contradiction

Embattled Max Planck neuroscientist quits primate research - "A neuroscientist who has been the target of animal rights activists says he is giving up on primate research... Logothetis cites a lack of support from colleagues and the wider scientific community as key factors in his decision. In particular, he says the Max Planck Society—and other organizations—should pursue criminal charges against the activists who target researchers."

Do Economists Swing for the Fences after Tenure? by Jonathan Brogaard, Joseph Engelberg, Edward Dickersin Van Wesep - "Using a sample of all academics who pass through top 50 economics and finance departments from 1996 through 2014, we study whether the granting of tenure leads faculty to pursue riskier ideas. We use the extreme tails of ex-post citations as our measure of risk and find that both the number of publications and the portion consisting of “home runs” peak at tenure and fall steadily for a decade thereafter. Similar patterns hold for faculty at elite (top 10) institutions and for faculty who take differing time to tenure. We find the opposite pattern among poorly-cited publications: their numbers rise steadily both pre- and post-tenure"

Terrorism From a Liberal Perspective - ""I am not against Imperialism, on the contrary, it is part of my history! My only problem is with infidels!"
"Nonsense! You don't understand yourself better than I do. Religion is not the cause of terrorism, we are, we caused you social and economic injustice.. you are not a criminal. You are our victim, please forgive us!"

Law student posts account of sexual assault to fight rape culture - "A law student at Thammasat University has come forward with an account of sexual assault to fight rape culture. She said her statement was intended to encourage other victims to take action after an assault, since so many kept silent and were repeatedly abused... She admitted being drunk on the night of the incident, when she stayed at a friend's dormitory room along with several other inebriated friends and senior students. She said her attacker was one of the senior students that she had previously trusted. Thararat said the student later said he had been drunk and did not mean to assault her."
It is telling, either way, that a law student didn't go to the police
Original post

How soon is too soon to politicize Hurricane Harvey? Charlie Hebdo and Politico may test your tastes. - The Washington Post - "Wuerker was hardly alone in steering hard toward the political by Wednesday; that morning, I noted how such cartoonists as Nate Beeler, Rick McKee, Rob Rogers were framing Hurricane Harvey within the actions of, and effects upon, President Trump. Rogers, of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, used hurricane rescue as visual metaphor to satirize Trump’s pardoning last week of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. He followed that up with a cartoon about Trump’s actions to ban transgender people from the military."

How Lego earned the wrath of the 'gender-neutral toys' crowd - latimes - "here's Lego's problem: The main market for the $4 billion company's traditional plastic bricks and mini-figures is boys. Certainly some girls enjoy making castles or skyscrapers out of the bricks, just like their brothers, but in 2011, Lego's market research boys found that 90% of Lego users were boys. And now, the company's attempt to address the disparity has outraged the sizable "gender-neutral toys" contingent. They're the people, in case you've escaped their preaching, who insist that segregating toys into "boys" and "girls" categories — even if, as with Legos, the toys aren't labeled as such and the segregation is strictly de facto — sends a message to girls that they can't do certain jobs, discourages them from studying science, technology and engineering, and perpetuates stereotypes of women as wives, mothers and homemakers. The anti-Lego campaign started in 2011 when Lego, after years of research, decided to do something to attract more little girls with its Friends line of bricks and mini-figures. Unlike the bright primary colors of the regular Lego sets, the Friends colors tend toward pink and purple and soft pastels. The comical mini-figures of the regular Lego lines have been replaced by five slender and stylish plastic tweens of various ethnicities, each with her own narrative story, along with puppies, kitties, "My Little Pony"-style horsies and baby animals ranging from penguins to lions. Little girls are encouraged to build things, all right: patios, cozy kitchens, cafes, beauty shops, doghouses for the puppies, stalls for the horses, all characterized by a level of decorative detail unknown in the regular Lego universe. And guess what? Little girls love Friends. By the end of 2012, Friends was Lego's fourth-best-selling product line and the number of girl consumers of Legos had tripled. But the gender-neutral people went ballistic, and they've been that way ever since... parents, if your daughter wants to make herself a fort or a skyscraper out of regular Lego bricks, there's no law preventing you from crossing the aisle in the toy store to satisfy her desires."

Lego sales topple as children turn away from the building bricks - "Lego is shedding 1,400 staff as a decade long-run of sales growth ends after expansion failed to deliver expected sales growth... the company has also introduced a range targeted at females as it looked to tackle intense competition."
Without gender-targeted toys maybe they would've gone under years ago

Food Politics by Marion Nestle » Industry-funded studies that do NOT favor the sponsor - "what struck me is your focus on the favorable vs. unfavorable dichotomy, rather than the reality of what much nutrition science research results in: null findings. It seems that there are fewer and fewer nutrition studies published that report the null, or find no effect. I agree with you that the reason we don’t see more of these studies in the literature has to do with bias, but I suspect that it is publication bias as much as any other bias. From my interactions with nutrition researchers, I gather it is quite difficult and sometimes impossible to get a study with no significant effects published regardless of funding source, to say nothing of allegiance bias by some researchers hesitant to publish findings that may go against their own hypotheses... At National Dairy Council we have an extensive program of nutrition research that we sponsor at universities both nationally and internationally. While I can’t speak for all of industry, we strongly encourage the investigators of all of our sponsored studies to publish the findings, no matter the results. Thus, we would expect our sponsored studies to have a similar “success” rate as those sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In fact, that is exactly what one recent analysis – not sponsored by the dairy industry – found, reporting that there was no evidence that dairy industry funded projects were more likely to support an obesity prevention benefit from dairy consumption than studies sponsored by NIH... That all said, please allow me to provide some examples of studies the National Dairy Council has sponsored that are published and, rather than showing a clear benefit, do not refute the null hypothesis. These are all studies published within the last 4 years"
On industry funding supposedly meaning you can't trust results

Violence has always been part of the anti-fascist movement, a new history of Antifa shows - "Disruption—sometimes violent disruption—has been central to anti-fascist action from the beginning. Many Jewish anti-fascists in Britain argued, “fists can be put to better service than propelling pens.” Communist anti-fascist papers in Germany read, “Hit the fascists wherever you meet them!” and “Wherever a fascist dares to show his face in the quarters of the working class, workers’ fists will light his way home. Berlin is red! Berlin is staying red!”... “anti-fascists have concluded that since the future is unwritten, and fascism often emerges out of small, marginal groups, every fascist or white-supremacist group should be treated as if they could be Mussolini’s one hundred Fasci.”... critics of violent anti-fascism are correct in arguing that violent actions can inspire a backlash that accelerates fascism. As Bray points out, three separate assassination attempts on Mussolini’s life “were used to eliminate all non-fascist political parties and journals, thereby inaugurating Mussolini’s dictatorship.”"
Somehow, violence is supposed to stop "Nazis" even though it helped them come to power

Am I the First Victim of YouTube's New Censorship? - "I’m glad YouTube doesn’t think I’m promoting terrorism, but apparently I’m pretty close. You can watch the video and see if you agree. I think you will find it is a sober, factual discussion of the evidence for the view that the races differ in average intelligence, and that there is a significant genetic contribution to that difference. The video even has a list of references at the end. It is hardly “inflammatory”—it is a recitation of facts—and if it is “supremacist,” it would have to be “yellow supremacist” because it notes that Asians have higher average IQs than whites. It is a terrible precedent when a huge company like YouTube—with the “help” of groups such as the No Hate Speech Movement and the Anti-Defamation League—starts deciding which facts to promote and which to suppress. My video is a perfect example of what should be welcome in “the market place of ideas.” If I’m wrong, refute me. YouTube doesn’t see it that way. It gave my video the leper treatment because it doesn’t want dissent on the subject of race and IQ. Is this the kind of society we want?... What is YouTube afraid of? If I am obviously wrong, no one will pay attention. If I left something out or misinterpreted something, those who are right will correct me. In fact, there is a lively debate here, among people who do dispute some of my facts, and who are cursing YouTube for cutting off comments. They can’t correct me!"

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios - "Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios."
Some meat is better for the environment than no meat

School bans skirts to make uniform 'gender neutral' for transgender students and combat complaints about 'decency'

Joss Whedon was never a feminist
No true feminist puts sugar in his porridge
This is quite similar to how Christians who go astray are proclaimed to never having been real Christians, which exposes the similarities between feminism and Christianity

Single-Dose Testosterone Administration Impairs Cognitive Reflection in Men. - " 243 men received either testosterone or placebo and took the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), which estimates the capacity to override incorrect intuitive judgments with deliberate correct responses. Testosterone administration reduced CRT scores. The effect remained after we controlled for age, mood, math skills, whether participants believed they had received the placebo or testosterone, and the effects of 14 additional hormones, and it held for each of the CRT questions in isolation. Our findings suggest a mechanism underlying testosterone's diverse effects on humans' judgments and decision making and provide novel, clear, and testable predictions."

How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto – Alexander Muse - "Using stylometry one is able to compare texts to determine authorship of a particular work. Throughout the years Satoshi wrote thousands of posts and emails and most of which are publicly available. According to my source, the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe. By taking Satoshi’s texts and finding the 50 most common words, the NSA was able to break down his text into 5,000 word chunks and analyse each to find the frequency of those 50 words. This would result in a unique 50-number identifier for each chunk. The NSA then placed each of these numbers into a 50-dimensional space and flatten them into a plane using principal components analysis. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ for anything written by Satoshi that could easily be compared to any other writing"

American Horror Story: Cult Parodies Liberals Brilliantly - "This season begins on election night, when Ally (Sarah Paulson) becomes completely undone once Trump wins. She's an archetypical left-winger: a married lesbian with a child, an eco-friendly Prius and oddly specific phobias that'll make her lose control when she's triggered. Ally becomes hysterical once the results come in, howling and bawling like a nuclear blast had already hit or Mike Pence himself was outside her door to personally break up her marriage and take away her son."

Miyazaki officials bring tick to press conference to warn of disease spread but it gets away - "A deadly tick got away Monday after being brought to a news conference held by the Miyazaki Prefectural Government to warn of a tick-borne disease, prompting the governor to apologize the next day. Prefectural government officials conducted a search for the insect with the help of reporters present at the news conference, but failed to find it, and sprayed insecticide, officials said."

Anti-immigrant party takes first place in Sweden, poll shows - "The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats are the most popular political party in the Nordic country, according to a new poll. The YouGov poll showed nearly a quarter – 23.9 per cent – of people said they would vote for the party if an election were held now, meaning its support is at nearly double the level of what it was during 2014’s general election. Results put the Sweden Democrats ahead of the Social Democrats, who form the larger part of a coalition government under Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and well ahead of the Moderates. Support for those parties has fallen by nine and eight points, respectively, since 2014, YouGov found."

German police warn women not to jog alone - "Police say they are without a trace and has asked the public for help. With what, after the New Year's Eve in Cologne, has become an euphemism for people from North Africa or the Middle East, a description that reads "southern" looking, with dark hair and a dark beard. The police now warn against jogging alone. In a conversation with Stern, police spokesman Uwe Voigt says: "Whoever is jogging alone, should be wary of the surroundings, and moreover, cast a glance behind. If you have the opportunity, you should jog together with someone." And so another one of the freedoms that one took for granted disappears."

Man in Japan falls off bridge and dies, moments after proposing to girlfriend - "Upon hearing a "yes", he was so happy that he allegedly jumped over a 1.2m railing, but lost his grip and plunged 30m into the sea... In a similar incident in 2014, a 29-year-old Bulgarian woman died after falling off a cliff on the Spanish island of Ibiza, just moments after accepting her boyfriend's marriage proposal. She was believed to have lost her balance while jumping with excitement"
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