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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Links - 7th December 2017 (1)

Flat-Earther's plan to launch himself in homemade rocket just hit a problem - "A California man who planned to launch himself 1,800 feet (550 metres) high Saturday in a homemade scrap-metal rocket - in an effort to prove that Earth is flat - said he is postponing the experiment after he couldn't get permission from a federal agency to conduct it on public land."

More than 160,000 march in Barcelona to demand Spain takes in more refugees - "At least 160,000 protesters have marched in Barcelona to demand that Spain's conservative-led government increase its efforts to take in refugees from war-torn countries like Syria. Spain has accepted just 1,100 refugees of the over 17,000 it has pledged to take in. Marchers held a large banner and signs in Catalan with the slogans 'Enough Excuses! Take Them In Now!' and 'No More Deaths, Open The Borders!'"
This was before the vehicle attack

'Hard' Brexit offers '£135bn annual boost' to economy - "Removing all trade tariffs and barriers would help generate an annual £135bn uplift to the UK economy, according to a group of pro-Brexit economists. A "hard" Brexit is "economically much superior to soft" argues Prof Patrick Minford, lead author of a report from Economists for Free Trade."

Why Don't Electric Cars Have Multi-Gear Transmissions? - "Electric motors have a much larger RPM range than the typical internal combustion engine. And unlike a gas or diesel engine, an electric motor makes its best power output over an incredibly broad RPM range. So instead of packing the car with numerous gears to keep the engine in its happy zone, designers of electric cars just pick a gear ratio that provides a good compromise between acceleration and top speed. And with the typical electric motor capable of sustaining 20,000 RPM, the top speed often isn't even a limiting factor."

IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece - "The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory. This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions... In an astonishing admission, the report said its own investigators were unable to obtain key records or penetrate the activities of secretive "ad-hoc task forces"... The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen... the Greeks were repeatedly blamed for failures that stemmed from the policy itself. This unfairness – the root of so much bitterness in Greece – is finally recognised in the report. “If preventing international contagion was an essential concern, the cost of its prevention should have been borne – at least in part – by the international community as the prime beneficiary”"

Joss Whedon Is a ‘Hypocrite Preaching Feminist Ideals,’ Ex-Wife Kai Cole Says - "There were times in our relationship that I was uncomfortable with the attention Joss paid other women. He always had a lot of female friends, but he told me it was because his mother raised him as a feminist, so he just liked women better. He said he admired and respected females, he didn’t lust after them. I believed him and trusted him. On the set of “Buffy,” Joss decided to have his first secret affair. Fifteen years later, when he was done with our marriage and finally ready to tell the truth, he wrote me, “When I was running ‘Buffy,’ I was surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women. It felt like I had a disease, like something from a Greek myth. Suddenly I am a powerful producer and the world is laid out at my feet and I can’t touch it.” But he did touch it... he hid multiple affairs and a number of inappropriate emotional ones that he had with his actresses, co-workers, fans and friends... he never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth. He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with. But I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist... I want to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be. I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organizations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honoring a man who does not practice what he preaches"

Hippolyte Mege-Mouries: A brief history of the bootleg margarine trade. - "Though you know and tolerate it today as a vaguely palatable substitute for delicious creamery butter, margarine used to be heavily regulated in the United States—in some states, it was even banned—and bootleggers actually went to jail for selling the stuff... butter interests lobbied state legislatures to pass laws preventing margarine manufacturers from dyeing their product to resemble butter; instead, it had to be sold in its unappetizing natural color, white. In its 1894 decision on Plumley v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court went so far as to rule that colored margarine could not be transported across state lines into a state with a colored-margarine ban."

My Adventures Correcting Yellowface - Home Made MimiHome Made Mimi - "Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell... As far as I know I do not have Japanese blood. But my mother and I are often mistaken for Japanese when we are in Thailand"
Protesting actresses acting as characters of a different race by... acting as characters of a different race? Maybe the subtext of this is that all Asian people are the same (which is a racist claim itself)

Lim Jialiang - If it's not been obvious enough, it seems like the... - "If it's not been obvious enough, it seems like the gahmen is very obsessive over cashless payments. If they really want to help speed up adoption, then they need to put some hard and realistic limits on credit card fees. This is a tiresome broken record as they fail to mention that the credit card industry in China has been reined in, especially by their charges per transaction. Each transaction there has been 0.35% for a debit card, or 0.45% for a credit card. In Singapore, its 2.5%-3%, with online merchants charging 3.4% and a $0.50 admin fee (for Stripe). Paypal does 3.9% per transcation. These are costs set by the local banks here, and online payment portals have to follow the costs or local merchants won't be getting any payouts from any purchases made. Adopting NETS is only feasible if you want to feel like you're back in the days where Internet Explorer 6.0 is a thing."

Hitchhiking robot that relied on human kindness found decapitated - "A hitchhiking robot that relied on the kindness of strangers to travel the world has been found with its head and arms ripped off, just two weeks into its first American tour. The child-sized robot, known as hitchBOT, was found damaged beyond repair on the streets of Philadelphia early on Saturday. It had earlier hitched across the entire of Canada for 26 days and completed a hitchhiking adventure through Germany."

The Atlantic Claims Monday's Solar Eclipse Is Racist - "At first glance, the headline, "American Blackout" appears to be an attempt to one-up the Boston Globe, who claimed that the sun, dastardly conservative that it is, was biased towards Trump supporters, since the swath of the country that will witness 100% coverage, is made up, mainly, of counties that went for Trump in the 2016 election. But no, the essay, penned, unsurprisingly, by a university professor — Alice Ristroph of Brooklyn Law School — insists that the solar system, which itself exhibits signs of "implicit bias," has it out for minorities."

INSANE: New York Subway System To Remove Tiles That 'Look Like' Confederate Flag - "How insane have people gone over the virtue-signaling debate over whether or not to remove Confederate monuments? The New York subway system — a system plagued with problems of late — will now remove a set of tiles that look like a Confederate flag... The Metropolitan Transit Authority says the tiles are simply supposed to refer to New York as the “Crossroads of the World.”"

An American rode London's Underground system for a week — and thinks New York's subway will never catch up - "While New York often uses the age of its system as an excuse, I saw how London overcame its ancient architecture — some of which dates back to the mid-19th century — to build a modern transportation system. Honestly, it felt strange to be in a city where the denizens didn't constantly gripe about how long it took to get wherever they were"

Beyond the pale: China’s cheerful racists | The Spectator - "o many Chinese, ideas about racial hierarchies are not outdated anathema but unquestioned belief. In Britain, a politician who uses a defunct idiom like ‘nigger in the woodpile’ loses the whip. In China, racism is a standard undercurrent of public debate... a non-Han Chinese person is considered a contradiction in terms, and the Chinese apply the same logic to the citizens of other countries. When I showed my class my own school photograph, I expected them to remark on how terrible my hair looked. Instead, their first response was ‘Why are there those black girls in England?’... The approach to minorities is cruel and contradictory: most Han Chinese don’t see minority citizens as their fellow country-men, but still maintain that Beijing has a right to govern them."

Revenge of the nerds: Your high school grades predict what you'll earn as an adult. - "students who earn better grades in high school also make more money as adults."

The Future Will Be More Religious and Conservative Than You Think - "“Liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result.” “In Seattle,” adds Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation, “there are nearly 45 percent more dogs than children. In Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19 percent more kids than dogs... Religious Latinos and African-Americans generally vote Democratic, but opt for conservative positions on social issues like abortion. When acting in concert with white religious conservatives, as with Proposition 8 in California, they become a force to be reckoned with. And all have a considerable fertility edge over their pro-choice counterparts. This explains why the pro-life majority in the U.S. population will approach three-quarters of the total by the end of the century. However, the Republican Party is not projected to increase its support. Instead, the growth will be among pro-life Hispanics, most of whom inherit Democratic partisanship. Those who doubt whether demography can shape politics should consider world Jewry. The combination of religious polarization and demographic upheaval is especially stark among Jews... In the Muslim world, women most in favor of sharia law have twice the birthrates of Muslim women who are most opposed... Projections I recently published with Skirbekk and Goujon in the journal Sociology of Religion show secularism losing momentum and beginning to decline in both Europe and America by 2050, largely because of low fertility and religious immigration.”

Re-thinking Our Wedding Ang Bao Culture in Singapore - "a long time ago, the wedding Ang Bao culture started off with good intentions; a blessing from guests containing a small amount of money as token for luck and gratitude to the bride and groom. Somewhere along the line, it evolved into some hybrid form of compensation to help the wedding couple offset their expenses incurred at a wedding banquet. And then, to enforce the ‘reimbursement’, guests were expected to write their names on the back of the red packet as a proof of payment... I view these wedding Ang Bao rates with disdain. Not only do they cheapen a significant moment in one’s life, it reduces a beautiful wedding into nothing more than ticketed event."

A 26-year-old MIT graduate is turning heads over his theory that income inequality is actually… - "Rognlie is attacking the idea that rich capitalists have an unfair ability to turn their current wealth into a lazy dynasty of self-reinforcing investments. This theory, made famous by French economist Thomas Piketty, argues that wealth is concentrating in the 1% because more money can be made by investing in machines and land (capital) than paying people to perform work (wages). Because capital is worth more than wages, those with an advantage to invest now in capital become the source of long-term dynasties of wealth and inequality. Rognlie’s blockbuster rebuttal to Piketty is that “recent trends in both capital wealth and income are driven almost entirely by housing.”... Rather than taxing businesses and wealthy investors, “policy-makers should deal with the planning regulations and NIMBYism that inhibit housebuilding and which allow homeowners to capture super-normal returns on their investments.” In other words, the government should focus more on housing policy and less on taxing the wealthy, if it wants to properly deal with the inequality problem... it might be wiser to redirect anger towards those who get in the way of new housing, rather than rely on taxes to solve our problems."

How Silicon Valley Made Big City Housing The Cause Of And Solution To Inequality (In 9 Visuals) - "Austin, Denver, and Brooklyn’s older suburban counterpart, San Francisco may show that the twin forces of economic equality and density are too difficult to resist... “A 1% increase in housing stock results in a 10% reduction in price, all else being equal,” concludes Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at the influential financial institution, Moody’s (parent company of the rating group). He estimates that the entire Bay Area may need to at least 130,000 more units in order to both remain affordable and house all of the tech jobs... One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on inequality and economic mobility found out that suburban sprawl is a key factor in financial disparity. Harvard’s Raj Chetty and his team discovered that the average child growing up in San Francisco will make $1,760 more as adult than if they lived in the nearby commuting zone of Alameda County. Even with sky-high inequality, San Francisco boasts of the nation’s highest social mobility for children born into the poorest income bracket. When the rich and the poor use the same schools, police, hospitals and streets, ghettos are held at bay... The alternative (California’s current solution) is commuting... It is difficult to overstate the nasty impacts of commuting on the mind, body, and family: residents with over an hour of commuting suffer dramatic drops in sleep, exercise, and relationships... a slight (statistically insignificant) majority of residents support a Manhattan-like city landscape if it meant affordability"

DELINGPOLE: RIP Godfrey Elfwick, Murdered by Twitter for Being Too 'Woke' - "if you are going to invent snowflake-protecting, safe-space-creating rules on “targeted abuse” then at least show some consistency. Now (and I’m quite sure, forever) Twitter’s approach to banning is so ludicrously one-sided that it would almost be funny if it weren’t so oppressive, hypocritical, and unjust: conservatives like Milo get banned; liberals (and violent Islamists, and Antifa thugs, and screeching feminists) are free to spew their bile for all eternity."

Linda on Twitter: "This would be the #GameofThrones episode where they broke the plot so badly that suspension of disbelief is well and truly dead."
This from Linda Antonsson, co-author with George R.R. Martin of The World of Ice and Fire sourcebook
So much for plot not mattering if you have a good story

Game of Thrones Producer Quits Twitter - "Cogman's account had become a go-to source of crucial information about how showrunners could explain certain apparent inconsistencies in the plot, like when fans wondered how certain characters could travel across Westeros in the blink of an eye and why Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)'s hair was still short, if so much time had passed since her "Shame!" moment."
Maybe he quit Twitter because he knew no one would be able to explain how ridiculous the show has gotten
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