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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Links - 1st December 2017 (2)

The English in America | Podcast | History Extra - "Religion clearly, it did play a role. But the idea that it was dominant, that it was the reason that most people went is simply not true. You know there are lots of reasons why people went. People went to, because they wanted to harvest the extraordinary natural wealth in the water, the extraordinary numbers of fish. Particularly in North America... the waters in Europe which were very over fished... People went because they wanted to get rich. They went looking for, because they thought that America would be a land full of gold mines and full of precious metals and so on and so forth... [after the Civil War] quite a lot of royalists did leave the country at that point often going to places like Virginia...
People went because they wanted to be free... although these people were, disagreed fundamentally with religion as it was practiced in England, they certainly weren't liberal. They, a lot of people who disagreed with them found themselves you know rudely kind of tortured or expelled or hanged...
This device of an indenture was invented which basically meant, the reason it was called an indenture was a servant would sign a legal contract and the legal contract was then torn in half and the two sides of the paper, as happens if you tear a piece of paper, the two sides of paper would have teeth and that's why it was called an indenture... half would be given to the owner and half would be given to the servant, the idea being that if you ever needed to prove that this had originally been one contract you could show that the two sides matched up...
The emigration from England was so astonishing. The numbers who went from England, it was only quite a small country, the numbers who went were extraordinary. I mean twice, as you know to give you an idea, twice as many went during the seventeenth century from England as from Spain. Spain was the next biggest exporter of people in Europe. A lot of Spaniards went to South America and so forth but twice as many went from England and if you compare England to a country like France which was another Atlantic power with a very long Atlantic coastline, forty times as many people went from England as went from France. Forty times. France was a country with a much larger population... It's no wonder that when conflict did appear between the English and the French... the English ultimately came out on top"

The man who cut out his own appendix - "During an expedition to the Antarctic, Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov became seriously ill. He needed an operation - and as the only doctor on the team, he realised he would have to do it himself... Appendectomies are now compulsory for Antarctic explorers from several countries such as Australia. And some in the medical profession have suggested the procedure should be given to any future astronauts leaving the Earth to form a colony on Mars or the Moon."

University drops world's oldest erotic novel written in English from curriculum - "Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, was first published in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors prison in London, it’s the story of an ageing courtesan who looks back with “stark naked truth” on her scandalous life... heteronormative descriptions in Fanny Hill of “maypole[s] of so enormous a standard” appear to be proving too much for university students. Judith Hawley, professor of 18th-century literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, said that after decades of teaching the provocative text on various courses, Fanny Hill is being dropped from the latest curriculum following a consultation with students... the rest of the reading list for the course now comes with a “trigger warning”, explaining that Restoration and 18th-century texts “sometimes reflect the unpleasant prejudices of their time, just as they sometimes work to complicate or challenge those attitudes. "Racism, sexual violence, and self-harm were part of society then, as in different ways they are now.” Students are encouraged to speak to staff if there is a “cause for concern”."

Muslim Blasts Gay Ex-Muslim as 'Far Right' on Live TV - "A surreal exchange saw a Muslim activist with extremist connections accuse gay rights activists of “Islamophobia” to their faces on live TV because they campaigned against Islamist extremists who want to see all LGBT people murdered... the East London Mosque filed a complaint against CEMB for “inciting hatred,” since CEMB pointed out their long documented history of homophobia."

I’m An Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader And I’m Sick Of Our Approach To Diversity! - "As a woman entrepreneur, I wanted to build a company that had a diverse team. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve failed miserably so far. We try hard, but again find ourselves with a 98% male candidate pool. You should know that we are an early stage startup that cannot afford market salaries. Despite that, we paid premium salaries to bring a few women who did well in our interviews. But, they lacked the energy to put us into overdrive. Worse, they were starting to drain the energy from the rest of the team. Eventually, we had to do the right thing for the company and let them go. I’m now back to being the only woman on the (tech) team... This summer, we got into beginner Python. The boy can’t stop taking on problems while the girl has declared that she hates it. She’s very ready to take on Photoshop and create filters and stickers for UrbanAMA though!... After diversity attempts at large companies and my own startup and the attempts to start tech early with my own children, I can tell you that our obsession with diversity and attempts to solve it are only fucking it up for the actual women in tech out there!... In the name of diversity, when we fill quotas to check boxes, we fuck it up for the genuinely amazing women in tech."
She's Indian and seems to be from India so that gives her additional protection from SJWs. But unfortunately she's not trans or Muslim
Elaboration in comments: ""The breadth overwhelms some people. Some others don’t have the attitude to take on the grunge work. It did not just happen to women, btw. An equal number of men had that problem and they are also no longer with us. It just so happened that all of the women we hired fell into this category. Sad coincidence really. We’ve had many others successfully broaden their scope and knowledge with willingness to go well beyond the comfort zone."


Tibor Fischer is right - my generation of university students are a bunch of snowflakes - "Tony Blair’s ambitious vote-winning pledge to have 50 percent of young people attend university nears fruition, but it has only been made possible by lowering entry standards, and by creating a plethora of degrees which have little real value... increasing numbers of students making use of special arrangements for conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD and dyslexia. This year, at the University of Edinburgh, 16 students were allowed to avoid having to give oral presentations, whilst in 2016, 218 students at Cambridge – three times more than five years ago – were granted extra time for stress and anxiety... If you think that university should be an egalitarian beacon of inclusivity, rather than a rigorous centre of academic excellence, then much of what I’ve argued will be irrelevant. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably see high academic standards, and the traditionally rigorous nature of a university degree, as barriers to your ultimate goal: everyone getting an equal prize."
Some socialists think anyone who works should get a "decent wage" regardless of the value they generate. Presumably they think anyone who wants to go to university should be able to graduate too

Indian men unable to find a girlfriend resort to ringing wrong numbers in hope of striking up a relationship - "Police in the city of Lucknow have set up a special call centre to handle complaints from victims. The New York Times reported that when 24-year-old Premsagar Tiwari was arrested by police he was found in possession of eight SIM cards and contacted more than 500 women a day... one gang in Uttar Pradesh state had even started selling women's phone numbers to single men, with differing prices depending on their looks... The chat-up lines used by the men vary from the prosaic 'Can I recharge your mobile?' to the poetic 'I am talking to you, madam, but my body is shaking' and the extremely creepy 'I want to do the illegal things with you'... Sometimes they call and say "I want to talk to Sonia" and I would say "I am not Sonia" and they would say "OK, can I talk to you?"'"

The worst romantic movies, according to dating experts - "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
‘If you want to look on the dark side, nothing demonstrates a dysfunctional relationship better than Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker. It didn’t end happily, but it is realistic. She was older, he was younger and infatuated. Even if you forget the age difference, there were so many signs that the relationship was toxic. A good relationship is based on communication, shared values and respect. They failed to communicate effectively. Rather than dealing with it, problems were ignored.’"

HuffPo Contributor Outed as Leader of Charlottesville Doxing Campaign - "Breitbart News asked HuffPost, which has run several pieces condemning the practice of doxing when left-wing “social justice warriors” are the victims, whether it would continue publishing Smith’s work. At the time of publication, HuffPost had not responded to our inquiry about Smith’s future writing for the website."

What The Power Rangers’ Costume Designer Really Thinks About The Controversial Female Armor - "Though there is still an element that's ruffled some feathers beyond the typical gripe that the suits look too modern, and it has to do with the armor on the female team members. In particular, the fact that Power Rangers features female armor that shows pronounced breasts has been a point of contention, and it's a point that costume designer Kelli Jones has tried to debunk"
Why is this even an issue?

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, An Act of Striking Bravado - "[On a Libya luxury hotel] It's said to have been swum in by Idi Amin who managed a dip while still holding onto his gun in case an assassin should jump out"

Really, Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Democrat? - "most Americans would rather have their child marry someone of a different color than a different political party"

The Polarizing Political Paradox Redux - "most Americans cannot reliably identify which specific policies each party supports, that people adopt party loyalties quite early in life, and that most stick to those loyalties whatever happens. (Look, I expected my kids to bleed Giants orange and detest Dodger blue from birth to eternity. So far, so good.) Americans’ party polarization cannot be that much about the issues. The authors point instead to the intensification of media attacks in the last few decades. They find that the warmth gap was highest among Americans in battleground states and Americans exposed to the largest number of negative political ads. Another study, by John Geer, describes how negative ads have increased — and increased, he finds, because the media increasingly turned them into news stories, multiplying their exposure and turning up the heat. Studies such as the one by Iyengar and colleagues are sharpening our understanding of what this political polarization is about. Increasingly, for most Americans it looks to be less about substantive issues and more about team (or gang) loyalty."

Google CFO retires with a candid memo about work/life balance - "Pichette recalls a vacation in Africa with his wife last fall, during which she suggested they keep traveling and really see the world. He initially demurred, noting the importance of his work at the Internet giant. "Then she asked the killer question," Pichette wrote in his memo, which he posted to Google+. "So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time? The questions just hung there in the cold morning African air." He started to lay out the argument in his head: Their kids had grown up and moved away. He had worked for nearly 30 consecutive years of his life. And his wife clearly deserved more quality time. He knew it was time to "hit the road.""

Ikea's using your most Googled relationship searches for product names - "The searches were pulled from the most common Swedish searches and used in the "Retail Therapy" campaign. And naturally, those secretly Googled questions are paired with an Ikea product that could "fix" the problem."

Woman uses vibrator while driving, ends up crashing her Mini Cooper

Parents upset over penis-shaped Play-Doh toy

Dubai to Create the World's First Climate-Controlled City - "Called the Mall the of the World, the 48 million square-foot mini-metropolis would be the first city-sized enclosure to allow residents to completely avoid outside conditions for extended periods of time"

Microsoft's Cortana Strives to Be More Culturally Aware Than Apple's Siri - "Microsoft is aiming to make Cortana's personality about as far from one-size-fits-all as possible. The British version, for example, is self-deprecatingly humble (and probably talks a lot about the weather). The forthcoming Japanese Cortana endeavors to be more formal. The Canadian one likes hockey."

Pride campaign says identity is beyond LGBTQA: ‘Six letters will never be enough’ - "The almost five-minute film by fitness club brand Equinox in partnership with The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, expands on those six letters by adding 20 other ways people define themselves."
If everyone is special, nobody is

'Story Of An Egg' Film Explains What 'Cage-Free,' 'Free-Range' Actually Mean (VIDEO) - "The definition for “cage-free” is quite literal: All it means is that the hens aren’t kept in cages. It doesn’t mean they’re treated well. They can still be cooped up in large industrial chicken houses with no room to walk around. Think “free-range” is any better? In order for chicken to be labeled as “free-range,” they must have access to the outdoors. But that outside space doesn’t need to be very big."

Yobai (Night crawling) - "Until quite recently in rural Japan, yobai, or “night crawling” would have been an introduction to sex for many young people. While a young woman slept, a silent intruder would creep into her room, slide behind her and make his intentions known. If she consented, they would have discrete sex until the early morning, when he would have to slip out of the house as stealthily as he had slipped in... Take your clothes off before you even sneak into the house. In Fukuoka, it was once illegal to attack a naked intruder, as he was probably engaged in yobai rather than theft... The seduction of sleeping women is a popular theme of Japanese pornography, and some image clubs offer special yobai services – providing prostitutes who pretend to be asleep while the client slips into their futon."

WATCH: Anti-Trump Feminists in Germany Wear Hijabs, Shout 'Allah Akbar' - "Feminists in the crowd are clearly moved by the chant, one women zoomed in on is visibly crying. Other women, just as American women did in Washington, sported hijabs, or religious head coverings, allegedly in "solidarity" with Muslim women. Muslim women in many countries in the Middle East are mandated to wear hijabs and are harshly punished for not complying. In fact, Muslim women in America, such as Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa, have begged Western women to stop wearing the head covering as sign of "resistance" or "solidarity.""

Ong Keng Sen on the Arts in Singapore

On the naval gazing insularity of the arts in Singapore:

Interview: Artistic Director Ong Keng Sen

"I think a lot of institutions, festivals, and venues here are ghettoising themselves by looking at only Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia. This makes no sense to me. One cannot consider Asia without looking at America and Europe and other parts of the world. For example, what’s happening in Tokyo is as much affected by what is happening with ISIS, and what’s happening in Europe or New York with the rise of populism and conservatism worldwide. For me, these parts of the world don’t just function as a region. The regions are interconnected; we have to see them in a larger context. Therefore I feel that this kind of perception that we must program Southeast Asian or Asian arts is a very misguided way of thinking – you have stunted visions of Asia if you don’t consider Asia or Southeast Asia as part of the world...

I actually get comments from American and European artists that “Singapore is not interested in us, they are only interested in Asia & Southeast Asian artists”...

Our theatre writers are often not writing on things that are relatable outside of Singapore. Nobody here is writing about Syria, for example. Nobody is writing about migration in Europe or the search for home. Our topics here are very, very small – they are looking at traffic rage, that kind of issue!...

Singaporean artists are perhaps looking at foreign workers in Singapore in a very localised manner. However it is not just about foreign workers in Singapore but also about migration in the world. Migration is a world theme right now, and this kind of universality is not very prevalent in Singapore theatre and arts. I feel we are closed off, rather insular, looking only at Singaporean issues and often only in a Singaporean context...

Generally our worldviews are not very big when we are in Singapore. Let’s take for example SG50 – it’s Singapore’s golden jubilee. But what does this 50th birthday mean internationally in the world? Is it about post-colonialism? Is it about changing the thinking about the periphery and the centre?? This idea of just celebrating your birthday can be petty in the larger sense of the world. I feel like we have to connect our conversations with the world and not just what’s happening here...

What I’ve heard many times about Singaporean films. “A lot of filmmakers here have the techniques to make the film, but they have no stories to tell.” Many of our filmmakers have the Hollywood techniques to make a glossy product. The challenge that faces Singaporean artists and Singaporean audiences (since they are directly related) is that the product looks ok, even good. But when you poke inside, there is no content...

More and more Singaporean individuals are moving away or staying away. You can see that in the recent controversy with Koh Jee Leong, a Singaporean poet who doesn’t want National Arts Council funding. He was listed in FT as one of the top poets to watch. He moved away.

Singapore is set up such that it is catering to a type of individual who wants to have a zone of comfort, a zone of convenience, where you make a lot of money, and then you go away and spend that money enjoying yourselves on holidays around the world. So it caters to a group of people. But there are many people who have things to say who have left, because there is little compatibility with what they are experiencing here... Perhaps stayers are the people who stay here who want a certain lifestyle, not a very engaged lifestyle. Because if you want to be engaged, you’d run into borders where you’d be regulated, and you can’t say the things you want to say, so people who want to say things leave. But they are the ones who have quality and desire quality. So what you have left are the stayers who have already quit from engaging with life socio-politically...

As I speak with the younger generation, I am troubled that more and more young people want to leave... in the long term you get people staying who would be perhaps – this is a terrible way of putting it – quite mediocre. That’s why I am questioning this thinking that if you don’t like it, then leave. Then the best people will go; apart from the committed individuals who are working hard here, but this group is very small...

The difference between Finnish and Singaporean history – Singapore is so afraid of alternative histories that are not the published history. Finnish history is looking for alternatives as a kind of diversity. In Singapore, you are told very consciously that you should not be creating alternative histories in the year of SG50. It means that there is a fear that you are generating different ways of thinking, individual ways of thinking. It’s a very real limitation. You are not going to have a dynamism for the future where there is push and pull between different realities and different viewpoints...

The scene here is very much dominated by institutions. If we look at ST’s Life Power List 2015, many are running a festival or a museum. They are all National Big Money. Very few individual voices, very few individual artists, very few individual entrepreneurs...

I have international friends who ask me why are artists in Singapore afraid of losing state funding? And why should the state or the government be involved? Sadly, it’s actually a belief in Singapore that you can’t do anything without the government, it’s so centralised. You see that when you go for sponsorship. The corporate sponsors are only focused on you when the government has said let’s focus on art this year. The endorsement by the government is important even for private corporate sponsorship...

Individuals are going to choose countries where there is quality of life. Quality of life includes dynamic expression, the ability to express yourself fearlessly, and not just a matter of affording a car and a house. Many people in New York can’t afford a car and a house, but they still live there, very fulfilled...

You can see the brain drain, because talent goes to the places where they are free. Talent will not stay where they are controlled. The talents know they have talent. They know they can go anywhere in the world. And if Singapore continues to be very controlled, talent would all seep out."

Links - 1st December 2017 (1)

Homophobic Trump Appoints Openly-Gay Man As German Ambassador - "Donald Trump has chosen former diplomat and Fox News commentator Ric Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany. If he’s confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Grenell would be the first openly gay envoy in the Trump administration."

EA’s day of reckoning is here after ‘Star Wars’ game uproar - "The company's profitable business model is now at risk after angry gamers revolted over its aggressive in-game moneymaking strategy in "Star Wars Battlefront II." EA's stock is down 8.5 percent month to date through Tuesday compared with the S&P 500's 2 percent gain, wiping out $3.1 billion of shareholder value. Its competitors Take-Two and Activision Blizzard shares are up 5 percent and 0.7 percent respectively during the same time period... an uproar began after details about the game's character progression were revealed, a system so tedious players are resorting to rubber bands on controllers to acquire credits to level up. The gaming community flooded social media and Reddit with thousands of negative posts, saying EA is unfairly compelling consumers to spend more money through micro-transactions for content that should be part of the initial $60 game price... Politicians vowed to take action to protect underage kids from the game's monetization practices. One Wall Street analyst is even calling for the industry to self-regulate before the government gets involved... Electronic Arts will likely be forced to dial back its extreme monetization strategies across its franchises, hurting future profitability."

Star Wars Battlefront 2 players are ruining the game with rubber bands - "You may be hurting your team’s chances at winning and annoying the rest of the players on the server, but this is the world EA and DICE have created. It feels weird to get angry at players who are trying to stretch what’s acceptable inside an economy that was this ill-conceived"

Apple rushes to fix major password bug - "by entering the username "root", leaving the password field blank, and hitting "enter" a few times, he would be granted unrestricted access to the target machine... Considering the power it gives, the bug is remarkably simple, described by security experts as a "howler" and "embarrassing"."

Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not - "About 70 percent of people who take the race version of the Implicit Association Test show the same tendency — that is, they prefer faces with typically European-American features over those with African-American features. Since it first went online in 1998, millions have visited Harvard’s Project Implicit website, and the results have been cited in thousands of peer-reviewed papers. No other measure has been as influential in the conversation about unconscious bias... Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and the University of Virginia examined 499 studies over 20 years involving 80,859 participants that used the IAT and other, similar measures. They discovered two things: One is that the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought. They also conclude that there is very little evidence that changes in implicit bias have anything to do with changes in a person’s behavior. These findings, they write, "produce a challenge for this area of research." That’s putting it mildly. "When you actually look at the evidence we collected, there’s not necessarily strong evidence for the conclusions people have drawn," says Patrick Forscher, a co-author of the paper, which is currently under review at Psychological Bulletin. The finding that changes in implicit bias don’t lead to changes in behavior, Forscher says, "should be stunning." Hart Blanton was not stunned. For the last decade, Blanton, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, has been arguing that the Implicit Association Test isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In a 2013 meta-analysis of papers, Blanton and his co-authors declared that, despite its frequent characterization as a window into the unconscious, "the IAT provides little insight into who will discriminate against whom, and provides no more insight than explicit measures of bias." (By "explicit measures" they mean simply asking people if they are biased against a particular group.)... high IQ scores tend to predict achievement, a claim backed up by reams of data. In contrast, the IAT — a sort of IQ test for bias — doesn’t reveal whether a person will tend to act in a biased manner, nor are the scores on the test consistent over time. It’s possible to be labeled "moderately biased" on your first test and "slightly biased" on the next. And even within those categories the numbers fluctuate in a way that, Blanton contends, undermines the test’s value. "The IAT isn’t even predicting the IAT two weeks later," Blanton says. "How can a test predict behavior if it can’t even predict itself?"... Everyone agrees that the statistical effect linking bias to behavior is slight. They only disagree about how slight.. Banaji and Greenwald, in a 2015 paper, argue that "statistically small effects" can have "societally large effects.""
Even the academics pushing the IAT admit it isn't very powerful. But that doesn't stop its fetishisation
If statistically small effects can have societally large effects how come this doesn't happen to women as per the Google "Anti Diversity" Memo?


Are We All Racists Deep Inside? - "First, unconscious states of mind are notoriously difficult to discern and require subtle experimental protocols to elicit. Second, associations between words and categories may simply be measuring familiar cultural or linguistic affiliations—associating “blue” and “sky” faster than “blue” and “doughnuts” does not mean I unconsciously harbor a pastry prejudice. Third, negative words have more emotional salience than positive words, so the IAT may be tapping into the negativity bias instead of prejudice. Fourth, IAT researchers have been unable to produce any interventions that can reduce the alleged prejudicial associations... For centuries the arc of the moral universe has been bending toward justice as a result of changing people's explicit behaviors and beliefs, not on the basis of ferreting out implicit prejudicial witches through the spectral evidence of unconscious associations. Although bias and prejudice still exist, they are not remotely as bad as a mere half a century ago, much less half a millennium ago. We ought to acknowledge such progress and put our energies into figuring out what we have been doing right—and do more of it."

Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism - The New York Times - "A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework. In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper... the new free market hindered Bulgarians’ ability to develop healthy amorous relationships... Most Eastern European women could not travel to the West or read a free press, but scientific socialism did come with some benefits. “As early as 1952, Czechoslovak sexologists started doing research on the female orgasm, and in 1961 they held a conference solely devoted to the topic,” Katerina Liskova, a professor at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, told me. “They focused on the importance of the equality between men and women as a core component of female pleasure. Some even argued that men need to share housework and child rearing, otherwise there would be no good sex.”"... sometimes necessary social change — which soon comes to be seen as the natural order of things — needs an emancipation proclamation from above."
Maybe better sex is worth being unable to travel the world or speak your mind

Cole White fired as Twitter names and shames protesters - "A white nationalist was fired from his job after Twitter users began naming and shaming alt-right supporters involved in yesterday's deadly Charlottesville rally"
I wonder what would happen if a radical feminist were fired. Or even someone from antifa who wasn't violent
I'm sure this will calm the sense of resentment that all the protesters had


Strategy Game Battle UI - "I was doing research on trends in the Strategy Game UI styles. And you can see a clear pattern that starts with simple left or right bar. Transitions into more complex top and bottom bars and then finally into widgets that stick out all around the screen. The switch from left or right bars to bottom bars was probably a purely stylistic choice or some thing to do with screen resolutions getting bigger, but transition to widgets is all to do with UI scaling. You should probably use widgets from now on.

YouTuber Sargon of Akkad alleges he was barraged with abuse after THAT VidCon confrontation with Anita Sarkeesian - "A YOUTUBER known as Sargon of Akkad has claimed that feminist trolls bombarded him with death threats and tried to break up his marriage. The online star, whose real name is Carl Benjamin, was at the centre of a firestorm last month after prominent feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian called him a “garbage human” and a “s***head” during a live panel at VidCon 2017, the world’s largest gathering of YouTube content creators... “The idea that she has the temerity to come along and say ‘other people are doing this to me’ is just hugely ironic"

Twitter Permanently Bans Sargon Of Akkad's Account - "The news about the account being suspended caused a bit of ripples in the water, but as pointed out by writer Ian Miles Cheong, it was just another day on Twitter where the social media service decided to ban or suspend another anti-SJW voice from the platform... So far there is no word on exactly who Sargon allegedly harassed, abused, or targeted, but he’s become an increasingly prominent figure that those on the Regressive Left have deigned problematic... the target on Sargon’s back grew exponentially this year after the very public VidCon incident that took place in June, where he was publicly harassed by feminist pundit Anita Sarkeesian, but organizers and the media turned it around and attempted to blame him for Sarkeesian harassing him. Sargon now joins other anti-SJWs, such as Milo Yiannopoulos, who have also been permanently banned from Twitter. The social media service had been targeting Conservative voices in the past, and have been recently utilizing tools to suppress certain kinds of speech, viewpoints, hashtags, and accounts using measures such as shadowbans and account throttling. Sargon of Akkad continues to post on social media via Facebook and YouTube"
Life as a SJW troll: harass your targets and then their targets get banned

VidCon Video Reveals Anita Sarkeesian Didn't Believe YouTubers Harassed Her - "Prior to the VidCon verdict, Sarkeesian made a post on the Feminist Frequency website [backup], claiming in the blog entry that Sargon and the other YouTubers were harassers, and showed up at VidCon 2017 to intimidate her and others. Well, in a video from VidCon 2016, just a year prior, Sarkeesian actually stated that these YouTubers weren’t actually harassers."

Google’s Silent Majority - WSJ - "Viewers may be surprised to learn that Mr. Damore is not a conservative, but a non-partisan critic of both the right and the left. He believes both sides of the ideological divide have valuable insights to offer. He doesn’t want to be a CEO because he desires more work-life balance. He makes suggestions on how to change Google’s work process and hiring to make the company more appealing and accessible to women—and also more effective. If you didn’t know any better you might think from this interview that he was among the most moderate, sensible people at Google—or any other workplace. And perhaps he is. As he did in his memo, Mr. Damore on video urges people to consider evidence from all sides of a political argument and to empathize with those who hold opposing views. He recommends seeing people as individuals, not as members of some larger group. It seems that the moderate, reasonable person who appears in this interview is also the person many of his colleagues saw before the recent media firestorm—but after reading his memo. Mr. Damore reports that he shared drafts of the memo about a month ago with various colleagues. “Many people looked at it but no one ever had this explosive reaction. All of the responses were just rational discussion,” he says... Mr. Damore’s experience raises a question of how high a price companies like Google should pay in pursuit of a particular vision of social justice. The fired software engineer describes former colleagues who said they were thinking of quitting because they weren’t part of the political “groupthink” and felt “totally isolated and alienated.”"

Google Cancels Meeting on Diversity, Citing Safety Concerns for Employees - WSJ - "Others say it is difficult to openly discuss diversity issues at the company because of a liberal bias among managers and colleagues at Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. And one employee said his managers’ reaction to Mr. Damore’s firing “has made it explicitly clear that any view not left [of] center is not welcome.”... the employee said the diversity program risks breeding dissent among the mostly white and Asian male staff, and he agreed with Mr. Damore that open discussion isn’t possible at Google... Google’s liberalism was clear at an internal town-hall meeting after the presidential election, where top executives commiserated with employees over Donald Trump’s victory, according to a recording of the meeting viewed by the Journal. Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, who publicly supported Hillary Clinton, called the election results “a kick in the gut.” Executives fielded a variety of questions over the hourlong meeting but none of the questions were in support of Mr. Trump’s victory."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Authors of Our Own Misfortune? - "There are a whole range of ways in which our personal responsibility has been denuded by actually the removal of shame for example. So it is no longer shameful for young people to binge and get drunk. That is costly...
I do that all the time myself, I used to when I was in practice but, but I certainly wouldn't hide from the patient what that patient had contributed to his situation. So that for example, take another example, women who were very badly abused by men. And I would find out that actually they had contributed something to their own situation. And it was useless just to say to them: ah, you're victim, which of course they were. They were victims. But just to tell them that they were victims was useless and you had to try and make them see what they had contributed to the situation so that they didn't repeat it...
'If you are completely undiscriminating [in who you help] you create more lost sheep, that is the problem'
'I am discriminating on the basis of need and not on the basis of their supposed virtue'
'Ah yes. Well the worse you behave the more you need'...
'If a person, a drunk, repeatedly destroys the cooker and the refrigerator in his house how many times are you supposed to replace it? Just because he needs those things'
'And how, and if you withdraw that support then what happens to these people who are really at the bottom of the scrap heap?'
'Well often they pull theselves together, they do pull themselves together. But if they don't that isn't your responsibility. You've told them what, you say. Next time you do it we are not replacing your refrigerator'
Victim blaming!

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Are UK prisons in crisis? - "Near the end of his sentence he set fire to the mattress in his cell. For doing this a judge gave him an IPP or Imprisonment for Public Protection and said he should serve a minimum of ten months. Eleven years later he is still inside. He has no release date"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Today at 60: How our attitudes to sex have changed - "Alison Webster was to become the last principle Page Three photographer. She lost that job when Rupert Murdoch gave way to the rising chorus of protests and said enough. To this day Ms Webster regrets the passing of Page Three.
'Yeah everyone's entitled to criticize things. I think banning things is wrong because I think we should all be allowed to do what makes us happy as long it's not hurting anybody else and I don't think physically it was hurting anybody else'
'Weren't the women exploited?'
'I would say not. They would say that they were exploiting the Sun. They worked very little for a fair amount of money and had a great time doing it so where's the exploitation in that?... In America where they create more porn than any other place in the world, you're not allowed to sunbathe on a beach. I just think it'll go round in a circle and come back to somewhere again'"

China in World War Two | Podcast | History Extra - "The participation of China allowed the Allies to argue that 'we are not fighting a race war'... symbolically hugely important and that was very important especially to the United States... Roosevelt also used Chiang Kai Shek to undermine British control of India...
'There is a whole generation of I have to say crusty colonels living in small seaside towns even today in parts of Britain who are convinced that the Americans are the reason that the British Empire fell in the end. You're basically giving them ammunition with this right'
'I guess so. I think Roosevelt was working towards, working towards the world order which no longer was consisted of these highly militarized empire trading blocks. He believes that that made for a very unstable situation and one that is unsustainable given the kind of nationalisms that were clearly emerging all across the world'...
[Roosevelt] wants the Chinese, Chiang Kai Shek, to actually run the occupation of Japan...
As we now know the founders of Al Qaeda's strategy read their Mao... according to the British State department... in the same way that Mao read Clausewitz"

Monday, November 27, 2017

Links - 27th November 2017 (2)

Why Isn’t Telegram End-to-End Encrypted by Default? - "popular apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Line, they rely on Apple iCloud and Google Drive to store their users' message history and prevent data loss in case their users lose their smartphones. These backups are not e2e-encrypted and get decrypted whenever the user buys a new phone and restores their WhatsApp/Viber/Line message history. While it may seem that you, as a user, have the freedom to opt out of these backups, in reality there’s little room for choice: even if you opt out (which is unusual and sometimes tricky), people you chat with most likely won’t. This creates a situation when messages you send and receive end up not e2e-encrypted in the cloud without you even realizing it. You have zero transparency on what is really e2e-encrypted and what is backed up. You rely on e2e encryption and trust the “no third party can access my messages” mantra, but your private data is in fact vulnerable to hackers and governments that can get access to it via the cloud storage. If you think this is a minor threat, think again: according to stats WhatsApp shared during Google IO last year, most of the “e2e-encrypted” chats on WhatsApp eventually get backed up and stored in the cloud, not e2e-encrypted... while Telegram has disclosed no private data to third-parties from its cloud so far, this year alone Apple satisfied 80% of data requests from the Chinese (!) government (and is even building a data-center for private iCloud data in China)"

Madison police chief plans to round up city's worst criminals - "The targets at the top of the list also are all African-American. Koval said he received calls Thursday from some people who told him his plan has racist overtones, particularly since less than 8 percent of the Madison population is African-American. Koval responded by coming to defense of their victims, many of whom were also African-American... "I prefer to look at it from a victim’s lens and when 7 out of 10 are African-American, why is nobody concerned that young, black people are having their lives taken from them?”
Black criminals matter more than black victims

Removing statues at private theme park unlawful, says Art Harun - "the district office ordered the closure of the theme park and removal of two female-winged statues following complaints lodged by some quarters who were apparently uncomfortable with the display of “angel-like” figures there. Azhar said if the people were uncomfortable with the statues, the answer is simple. “I mean, if anyone is not happy with the statues, just don’t go there... Last year, the iconic eagle statue in Pulau Langkawi had also been scrutinised after some claimed it was “haram”. The issue became a hot topic after a comment by Perak’s deputy mufti Zamri Hashim, who said that it was forbidden in Islam to make full-bodied statues of living creatures."

Brit pervert banned from having girlfriend without police OK - "Geoffrey Ball, 44, has been told he is not allowed any contact with women without alerting cops because of his history of sex assaults... "The defendant must not have or enter into any friendship or sexual or physical relationship with any female without first notifying a police at risk management officer within the public protection unit or equivalent.""

Sexual grooming victims: Is there Sikh code of silence? - "They see Sikh girls as 'easy targets' because they know codes of honour mean the child will be too scared and ashamed to tell their parents about the abuse and "their parents would not even report it if they were to find out"."

How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism - "At first, “white men are our greatest threat” postings tended to be ironic, a way of putting the racist shoe on the other foot. They were meant to show that blaming an entire race for the harmful actions of a few individuals is senseless. Then the tenor changed. What started as irony turned into an actual belief that white people, specifically white men, are more dangerous and immoral than any other people. Loosely backed up by historical inequities and disparities in mass shootings, this position has begun to take a serious foothold. Strikingly, this shift in rhetoric undermines what was once the core of anti-racist efforts. Treating people equally has given way to making all of us ambassadors for our race. This is a classic theme in critical race theory, that people of color carry a burden of representation that white people do not. But foisting the baggage of representation onto white people doesn’t solve that problem. It makes it worse. White people are being asked—or pushed—to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more. This is a remarkably bad idea. The last thing our society needs is for white people to feel more tribal. The result of this tribalism will not be a catharsis of white identity, improving equality for non-whites. It will be resentment towards being the only tribe not given the special treatment bestowed by victimhood. A big part of the reason white Americans have been willing to go along with policies that are prejudicial on their face, such as affirmative action, is that they do not view themselves as a tribe... Modern progressives don’t talk about the “greater ideals of the American Republic.” Rather, those ideals have become suspect, empty words used to justify slavery and genocide. But for Du Bois, who was closer to slavery than any of us will ever be, this was not the case. The facile notion that some inherent evil of whiteness must be expunged is anathema to his entire vision of equality and reconciliation."

Why Hong Kong passengers are a flight attendant’s nightmare, and other cabin crew gripes - "Hongkongers were rated the most frustrating passengers to deal with in interviews with three Hong Kong-based flight attendants, themselves Hongkongers. All three feel that Hong Kong travellers treat them like serfs."

The Liberal Crackup - WSJ - "nothing those presidents did while in office did much to reverse the rightward drift of American public opinion. Even when they vote for Democrats or support some of their policies, most Americans—including young people, women and minorities—reject the term “liberal.” And it isn’t hard to see why. They see us as aloof, elitist, out of touch. It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public... To meet the Reagan challenge, we liberals needed to develop an ambitious new vision of America and its future that would again inspire people of every walk of life and in every region of the country to come together as citizens. Instead we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics, losing a sense of what binds us together as a nation... There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political... the idea got rooted on the left that, to reverse the formula, the political is the personal... The classic Democratic goal of bringing people from different backgrounds together for a single common project has given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition... As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate... Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions... Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. By publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans, the movement delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But its decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society and demand a confession of white sins and public penitence only played into the hands of the Republican right."

I’m a White Man. Hear Me Out. - The New York Times - "“White men: stop telling me about my experiences!” someone later scrawled on a poster that was put up to advertise a talk, “Identity Is Not Politics,” that he gave at Wellesley College. “But I wasn’t talking about their experience or my experience,” Lilla pointed out when I spoke with him recently. “I was talking about an issue.”... awareness disclaimers and privilege apologies have ferried us to a silly, self-involved realm of oppression Olympics. They promote the idea that people occupying different rungs of privilege or victimization can’t possibly grasp life elsewhere on the ladder... Lilla noted that what people in a given victim group sometimes seem to be saying is: “You must understand my experience, and you can’t understand my experience.” “They argue both, so people shrug their shoulders and walk away,” he said... “My black father, born in 1937 in segregated Texas, is an exponentially more worldly man than my maternal white Protestant grandfather, whose racism always struck me more as a sad function of his provincialism or powerlessness than anything else. I don’t mean to excuse the corrosive effects of his view; I simply wish to note that when I compare these two men, I do not recognize my father as the victim.”... you know some important things about me, but not the most important ones: how I responded to the random challenges on my path, who I met along the way, what I learned from them, the degree of curiosity I mustered and the values that I honed as a result. Those construct my character, and shape my voice, to be embraced or dismissed on its own merits. My gayness no more redeems me than my whiteness disqualifies me. And neither, I hope, defines me."

Britain’s New Bank Notes: Secure. Durable. Not for Vegetarians. - NYTimes.com - "“This decision reflects multiple considerations including the concerns raised by the public, the availability of environmentally sustainable alternatives, positions of our central bank peers, value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products, including alternative payment methods,” the Bank of England said in a news release... 88 percent were against the use of animal-derived additives, while 48 percent were against the use of additives derived from palm oil, which the bank had explored as a possible alternative to the tallow. Despite the overwhelmingly negative response to the use of tallow, the Bank of England said it had to balance those concerns against its “other public duties and priorities.” In part, the cost of switching would have been significant: about £16.5 million over the course of the next decade, the bank said."

'Game of Thrones' Season 7 Episode 5 Recap: How Convenient - "If Martin has slowed down, it's because he's interested in so many little details, which grow more complicated and far-reaching with every chapter he write... Game of Thrones’ solution to the same problem Martin is describing seems to be: Ehhh, who gives a shit? And that philosophy has led to an undeniably rousing and action-packed Season Seven, in which characters who have been separated for the entire series have suddenly come face-to-face... the granular details that might sounds boring on paper—geography, travel, diplomacy, and training—are actually a big part of what made Game of Thrones interesting in the first place, and I've begun to miss them... Time and time again, Season Seven has shrugged off the journey to give us the destination... All stories depend on contrivances; the trick of the storyteller is to disguise them. "There’s a greater purpose at work," says Berric Dondarrion as this week’s episode ends. I just wish it weren’t so obvious that in Season Seven, that "greater purpose" is often just the needs of the show’s writers."

Kelsey L. Hayes's answer to How are the Dothraki surviving on Dragonstone? - Quora - "Let’s just call a spade a spade and admit that this is a gaping logistical error. Dany’s forces would have packed food and supplies for the journey to Westeros, but there’s no indication that she has a regular supply of fresh food coming, even less so now that the Reach has been compromised. It’s not clear at all where tens of thousands of Dothraki are staying and what their horses are grazing on — Yara’s ships that got intercepted on the way to Dorne didn’t have any Dothraki on board, obviously, and neither did any of the Unsullied’s ships that ended up at Casterly Rock"

The history of hit points - "D&D's co-creator Dave Arneson explained that the earliest version of the game didn't have hit points. The rules had evolved from wargames he and fellow D&D inventor Gary Gygax played, in which a single successful attack was all it took for a soldier to die.That changed when they started experimenting with having players control individual heroes rather than entire armies, as players identified with them much more strongly. As Arneson put it, “They didn't care if they could kill a monster in one blow, but they didn't want the monster to kill them in one blow.”"

Coming to terms with my game backlog - "more importantly than a commitment, I made a spreadsheet. There are a lot of games out there, and the list only gets longer every year. If I was going to tackle this hobby now, I decided I was going to do so with a strategy. Some may call this, not without a sense of frustration and resentment, their "backlog." But I look at mine as a "road map.""

This player spent $2 million in a mobile game. Then he led a boycott. - "The thing that these boycotts all had in common was that they were created by the players who loved the games the most. They wanted to fix the games that they loved, and they felt like the company needed to come down from its high perch and talk to them as real people, not sheep to be fleeced"

Why PC game downloads are so damned big - "If you’re running a game on a single GeForce GTX 1060, do you really need assets designed for 4K? Probably not. If you’re playing in English, do you need to install uncompressed audio for a dozen other languages? Nein. And if you only ever plan to play singleplayer, do you need all of the multiplayer stuff too?"

'The Witcher 3' And 'Fallout 4' Show Us That Single-Player Games Should Live Forever - "Very, very few games these days are entirely reliant on single-player. The idea seems to be that multiplayer games allow players to keep playing indefinitely, putting more time into the title, and these days hopefully sinking money into map packs or microtransactions. Single-player is a much less reliable model than it used to be. But for some companies? They’re so good at it, they can buck the trend. The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 have exactly zero multiplayer components to them. You can’t play with a friend, you can’t do battle against strangers. None of that. And yet, they’ve created the most engaging gaming experiences of the year, because they answer that need for gamers who sometimes, just want to explore a big, wide world alone."

www.illinoislighting.org: Outdoor Lighting for Safety & Security - "In 1998, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority undertook a test program to evaluate what effect increased nighttime illumination levels would have on crime rates in some areas which had been suffering from high levels of criminal activity... the nighttime crime rate in the test area had risen in all categories; violent crime went up 32%, property index offenses were up 77%, non-index offenses up 40%, for an overall increase of 40%. Comparing the daytime crime rate for the same two time periods, the overall crime rate dropped 23% during the daylight hours... increased crime occurring with increased lighting, as in the Chicago study above, may be the result of people feeling safer when they actually aren't, thus being lulled into taking fewer anti-crime precautions... "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design", or CPTED, is a system for looking at many different physical aspects of an area, and arranging them in a manner to most effectively discourage crime. In CPTED, both daytime and nighttime illumination is one important factor, and "more is better" is not assumed to be the case. Glare, shadows, light trespass, overly bright nighttime illumination, and widely uneven illumination are all recognized as creating undesirable, unsafe situations"

As Smart Nation drive speeds up, anxieties arise - "The Land Transport Authority’s announcement last week that the public transport system will go cashless by 2020, in keeping with Singapore’s Smart Nation push, should give us cause to pause. While the move is in the name of convenience, we might well ask: For whom? The implicit assumption is that digital non-natives, with relative ease, transform into tech-savvy citizens who will be completely at home with whatever technological disruptions come their way. That is a worrying and naive assumption. The pace of technology development is uneven; so too is the pattern of technology acceptance and adoption. Every generation produces a segment of people at risk of being left behind amidst the rapidity of change... In fluid dynamics, the greater the speed, the greater the turbulence. So too with society. And as the philosopher Paul Virilio further argues, an increase in speed also creates the potential for gridlock. He cites the example of airports and train stations as points from which we are sped through space, but which are also characterised by delays and jams."

Report: More Than 50% of Google Employees Are Against the Firing of James Damore - "In a survey conducted by the “anonymous corporate chat app” Blind, 56 percent, or more than half, of the 441 alleged Google employees who took part disagreed with the company’s decision to fire Damore... Damore’s biggest support came from Uber, where 64 percent of employees disagreed with his dismissal. This was followed by Yahoo, where 60 percent disagreed, followed Airbnb, where 58 percent disagreed, and Microsoft, where 57 percent disagreed. Facebook and Amazon also had a majority of employees who disagreed with Damore’s dismissal, with 56 percent and 54 percent respectively, while Apple, Linkedin, and Lyft all majority agreed with Damore’s firing. 49 percent of Apple employees and 47 percent of Linkedin disagreed with Google’s decision, while just 35 percent of Lyft employees thought Google was wrong to fire Damore"

Amateur Sleuths Aim to Identify Charlottesville Marchers, but Sometimes Misfire - The New York Times - "Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks... In the case of Charlottesville, social media users hoped identifying rally participants would lead to real-world consequences for racism. One Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist, was retweeted tens of thousands of times by people trying to help name the men in several photos... Mark Popejoy, an art director in Bentonville, Ark., attempted to correct dozens of Twitter accounts that had inaccurately pegged Mr. Quinn as the Charlottesville rally participant. He would point out that the University of Arkansas had confirmed that Mr. Quinn was not involved, and ask that the Twitter users delete their erroneous tweets. While some appreciated the new information, others adamantly refused to change their minds"
Ahh... mob "justice"

Zombie Feminist Statistics: Catcalling

The Washington Post via The Straits Times:

"The Girl Scouts of America notes that one in 10 girls is catcalled before her 11th birthday. Surveys conducted by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the non-profit organisation Hollaback! reveal that nearly 85 per cent of American female respondents report facing street harassment before age 17 and nearly 70 per cent before age 14. Almost 80 per cent of women report they were followed by harassers at some point.

Amanda Burgess-Proctor, associate professor of criminal justice at Oakland University and an expert in gender-based violence, sexual assault and crime, points out that girls and women of colour are more likely to experience street harassment and at a greater risk of being victimised physically or sexually."


The "one in 10 girls is catcalled before her 11th birthday" claim seemed fishy, so I decided to investigate it.

The Girl Scouts didn't provide more information on this claim, simply blandly stating "Two years ago, a study showed that one in ten American girls had been catcalled before her 11th birthday" (One in Ten Girls is Catcalled Before Her 11th Birthday. Here Are 6 Things Parents Can Do About It).

This article isn't even explicitly dated, but I inferred that it was referring to a 2015 report, Catcalling happens to most women between the ages of 11 and 17, which mentioned the anti-street harassment group Hollaback! (which, as a "wife, mother, sister, daughter" noted, "sends the message that if my sons make eye contact with, or say “hello” to, a woman they don’t know, they are a predator, or at the very least, a “creepy douchebag.”")

In any event, the study is presumably the one conducted with the help of Cornell, grandly titled Cornell International Survey on Street Harassment.

While the headlines are sexy, the methodology is anything but; while the full methodology is not available, we can see already that there are several problems.

In the US survey alone, right on the first page we are told that:

"Survey was not randomly distributed to a random sample of participants, and thus cannot be generalized in the same was [sic] as, say, a Gallup survey"

To wit, we can see that there are serious self-selection issues as the survey was given out in a very non-random way:

"Site leaders... Could send the links out however they wishes"

Even more damning,

"Sample: Relatively highly educated, moderately economically secure, and engaged with street harassment (63.1% have visited Hollaback! online)"

In other words, this is like going to a feminist convention, finding that most of the women there are feminists and then concluding that most women are feminists.

This is confirmed with their analysis of the difference between those who have visited Hollaback! online and those who haven't:

"We found significant differences on ALL types of harassment, age at harassment, and comfort talking about harassment. We cannot tell if these experiences led them to Hollaback!, or if being active in Hollaback! made them more sensitive to observing such experiences"

The fine print, as often, was left out in the rush to report sexy (and sexed up) headlines, and it is probable that this "one in 10 girls is catcalled before her 11th birthday" statistic is destined to become another zombie feminist statistic like 2% of rape claims being false, the gender wage gap and one in five college women being raped.

I also cannot find out how they define "verbal" harassment or "nonverbal" harassment (but it is safe from Hollaback!'s past record to assume that "hello" and "good morning" count). It is notable that nonverbal harassment does not mean exposing, groping/fondling or following - which are in their own categories. So respondents reported being "nonverbally" "harassed" in other ways (maybe being stared or even looked at)

Links - 27th November 2017 (1)

Neo-Nazis are rallying in Virginia today. Here's how to think about the alt-right. - "What I criticized wasn’t identity politics in general but a specific version of identity politics that was about performative wokeness, and in particular the reason I didn't like it was because it was very inclined to censor and it was very inclined to gang up on people. I hate that, and I think it deserves to be criticized... in shutting down its political enemies, the left has also shut down its own internal dissenters, who have always made the left intellectually vibrant. These are the people who keep the ideology from becoming fossilized because they force everyone to constantly rethink things, and these are the very voices that have been shut down. No one on the left wants to discuss taboo subjects anymore. Everyone is shut down for the tiniest of transgressions and anyone who is off message is attacked, and that’s a climate in which ideas die... The crisis of liberalism is that it became so cocky about the hegemony of its own ideas that it lost the ability to make the case for itself. There’s this assumption that our ideas are brilliant and beyond question and anyone who questions them can be dismissed as sexist or racist or whatever. Well, that’s not good enough, and the taboos have been broken. It’s not enough to say what you are against. We have to specifically say what we are for and defend it"

Jonathan Kay resigns as editor of The Walrus amid cultural appropriation controversy - "The editor-in-chief of The Walrus resigned late Saturday after mounting criticism, including from some of the magazine’s own contributors, for his role within a swirling controversy over the toxic subject of cultural appropriation. Jonathan Kay, who took over the editor’s chair in December, 2014, left after days of expressing dismay over the fate of Hal Niedzviecki, who had stepped down from his position as editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s (TWUC) Write magazine earlier in the week amid criticism for an essay he had written for that publication’s spring issue, which was dedicated to Indigenous writers. In the essay, titled “Winning the Appropriation Prize,” Mr. Niedzviecki had declared: “I don’t believe in cultural appropriation.”"

Christie Blatchford: Magazine editor the latest to be silenced for the sin of free speech - "he joined the growing list of people who have committed sins against the modern orthodoxy and who for their troubles have been silenced or bullied and in some cases forced into abject apology"

The future of genetic enhancement is not in the West - "There are, then, two primary factors contributing to emergence of genetic enhancement technologies – research to develop the technologies and popular opinion to support their deployment. In both areas, Western countries are well behind China."

Blasphemy Conviction For Egyptian Teens Condemned: Mocking ISIS Is ‘Not A Crime’ - "The video shows the teens pretending to pray. One kneels while another recites verses from the Quran and two others stand behind him and laugh. One waves his hand under another’s neck to mimic beheading. The teacher filmed the scene. After the video’s content came to light, angry Egyptian Muslims called for the teens and the teacher to be evicted from their village. With cries of blasphemy, mobs attacked the teens’ homes and Egyptian security forces arrested them. The teacher and his family were told to leave the village by its leaders."
I thought ISIS isn't Muslim?

Living man in Ohio declared ‘legally dead’ despite appearing alive and well before a US judge - "Donald Miller Jr, sitting alive and well before a US judge, has had his request to be legally named among the living turned down"

Lawyers: The Lowest Health and Wellbeing of All Professionals - "lawyers, because of their long hours, high levels of stress, toxic work environments, and strenuous workloads, have the worst health and well-being of any white-collar professionals. And, as if that news isn’t bad enough, the study also showed that many lawyers resort to drugs and alcohol to combat the stress. There’s also research that shows the suicide rate among attorneys is higher than many other professionals. Perhaps it’s the adversity they face day in and day out or the fact that their working conditions have caused them to slump into a depression."

So You Want To Hire The Beautiful. Well, Why Not? - "I believe the only meaningful measure of productivity is the amount a worker adds to customer satisfaction and to the happiness of co-workers. A worker's physical appearance, to the extent that it is valued by customers and co-workers, is as legitimate a job qualification as intelligence, dexterity, job experience, and personality... Research studies, such as those by Daniel S. Hamermesh and Jeff E. Biddle in the 1994 American Economic Review, indicate that the wage differential between attractive and ugly people is about 10% for both sexes. The differential is substantially greater for women if one considers outcomes in the marriage market. Less attractive, or at least obese, women are much less likely to marry than non-obese women and tend to have husbands with sharply lower earnings. To really address this hard fact of life, ugliness would have to be protected as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the act would have to be extended to the marriage market"

This Is Just a Middle-Aged Man Dressed as a Japanese Schoolgirl - "He's called the "Sailor Suit Old Man." And he's called that for good reason, too. Whenever you see Hideaki Kobayashi on the weekend, he's dressed as a Japanese schoolgirl... Whenever he's in his schoolgirl gear, Kobayashi is surrounded by people—often, real schoolgirls—who want to get their photos snapped with him. He recently wrote on Facebook how he's mobbed for photos, in his own words, "like a popular celebrity""

You Can Rent Old Men in Japan - "you are renting an ossan to do things like, for example, going to art galleries, having lunch and talking about your love life, test driving cars with you, renting weepy DVDs, looking at new apartments together, complimenting you, and even giving you ideas... You can even hire an ossan to run your errands or do your shopping. And in Sendou's case, you can have him sign old baseball cards!"

A Horror Game Where The AI Learns From Your Every Move - "In Hello Neighbor, an advanced AI will come after you if your snooping catches his eye. Your mistakes will teach it how to best hunt you down, an excellent mechanic for a horror game."

Banksy forced to withdraw offer to send free artwork to non-Tory voters - "The street artist Banksy has withdrawn an offer to send a limited edition print of a new piece to voters who shunned Conservative general election candidates in and around his home city of Bristol. Banksy’s stunt had attracted the attention of the police, the Electoral Commission and would-be Tory MPs concerned it could skew the results in six constituencies"

Where the Five-Day Workweek Came From - "There’s reason to believe that a seven-day week with a two-day weekend is an inefficient technology: A growing body of research and corporate case studies suggests that a transition to a shorter workweek would lead to increased productivity, improved health, and higher employee-retention rates. The five-day workweek might be limiting productivity. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who worked 55 hours per week performed more poorly on some mental tasks than those who worked 40 hours per week. And Tony Schwartz, the author of Be Excellent at Anything, told Harvard Business Review that people work best in intense 90-minute bursts followed by periods of recovery"

How The Atlantic's September Cover Story, ‘The Coddling of the American Mind,’ Came to Be - "The resident assistants who implemented the program had been given training materials that sought to define racism, and included statements such as “the term [racist] applies to all white people living in the United States” and “people of color cannot be racists.” While such claims may be good topics for debate, they seem on their face to be examples of several classic cognitive distortions—overgeneralizing, dichotomous thinking, and an inability to disconfirm. Campus leaders seemed to be telling students that they should overgeneralize, personalize, and magnify problems...
The relationship of trust between professors and students seems to be weakening as more students become monitors for microaggressions. I don’t mind if students complain directly to me. Each lecture involves hundreds of small decisions, and sometimes I do choose the wrong word or analogy. But nowadays, e-mail and social media make it easier for students to complain directly to campus authorities, or to the Internet at large, than to come talk with their professors. Each complaint can lead to many rounds of meetings, and sometimes to formal charges and investigations. Increasingly, professors must ask themselves not just What is the best way to teach this material? but also Might the most sensitive student in the class take offense if I say this, and then post it online, and then ruin my career?"

Garland, Texas and the Right to Blaspheme - "even as Western societies have jettisoned their laws against blasphemy, many democratic societies have experimented with a different kind of speech restriction, intended to protect human beings rather than God... Blasphemy isn't bigotry. Applying the single term "Islamophobia" blurs that difference: conflating the denial of a belief with discrimination against the believer."

Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits? - "economist Keith Chen released a working paper (now published) suggesting speakers of languages without strong future tenses tended to be more responsible about planning for the future. Quick example. In English, we say "I will go to the play tomorrow." That's strong future tense. In Mandarin or Finnish, which have weaker future tenses, it might be more appropriate to say, "I go to the play tomorrow."... speakers with weak future tenses (e.g. German, Finnish and Estonian) were 30 percent more likely to save money, 24 percent more likely to avoid smoking, 29 percent more likely to exercise regularly, and 13 percent less likely to be obese, than speakers of languages with strong future tenses, like English."
This supports the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Support for political diversity in Singapore halved, post-GE2015 survey finds - "the percentage of respondents who support greater political pluralism and change in the electoral system had halved from 35.8 per cent in a 2011 survey to 18 per cent this year. On the other hand, the percentage of “conservatives” in support of the political status quo doubled from 21.6 per cent in 2011 to 44.3 per cent in 2015... Those who have shifted from being pluralists to conservatives did so because they believed the Government did enough to change policies after 2011, to the point they did not see the need for a stronger opposition voice... Key segments in this group that swung to the conservative camp were those aged 21 to 29 as well as 65 and above"
If the party can change, why change the party?

32-year-old restaurant owner jailed 12 months for having sex with 15-year-old girl - "A 32-year-old Malaysian was jailed 12 months on Tuesday for having underage sex with a 15-year-old girl. He is also the first of five men to be convicted for the offence against the same minor... He told her that he would be on transit in Singapore on Oct 5 and suggested that they meet for sex. She agreed. That evening, she went to Changi Village Hotel at Netheravon Road where the offence took place"
Some victims get victimised a lot

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Privacy - "As Nigel Farage said, Trump's not running for Pope and Smith's not running for anything outside the gym and the dance floor. Can anybody be expected to live a life where everything they say and do is on the record? Or has our digital age created a clamour to expose and condemn that only colourless automatons need apply...
I think there're important but subtle distinctions between what's morally acceptable in the bedroom, the living room, the high street or a public platform and I worry losing this distinction disorientates us and stops us distinguishing between trivial indiscretions and profound wrongs"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Legalising Drugs - "A lot of reform around the world in drug laws has been driven by police who know that the War on Drugs is such a conspicuous failure...
So if the human brain doesn't develop until the mid 20s there's an awful lot of alleged neuroscience in this debate but anyway if that were the case then would you stop anybody in their mid 20s ingesting anything that was seen to have any influence on the brain. So for example alcohol would you make that illegal until somebody was twenty five or twenty six. Or until you or somebody else told me the brain stopped developing?... at this rate we won't let them vote until they're 30...
Why Prohibition causes violence... if we go out of here and we go to the local off license and we try to steal a bottle of vodka, that guy'll ring the police, the police will come and take us away. So they don't need to be violent, they don't need to be intimidating. They got the power of the law to uphold their property rights. If we went and tried to steal a bag of weed or bag o cocaine. Obviously that guy, he can't ring the police, the police would arrest him. He has to fight us. In fact he has to establish his place in that neighborhood through violence...
The reason I don't really get hot up about alcohol and tobacco is because I believe that people truly have the facts whereas there is a mountain of disinformation particular around cannabis... people are not making informed choices. They are being given false information mainly by organizations funded by George Soros...
What he asked us to do is to distinguish between the moral issue of what's right and the policy question of what works... [X] came along and said well actually from his perspective there's a question about what works is a moral question. Because if you do something which you know doesn't work and you keep doing it then you are immoral because you are not facing up to the consequences of your actions"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Summer of 2016 - "Politics is about contesting ideas ultimately. We're going to have, to have a debate. That's democracy. If we don't want mass participation we're arguing against democracy...
No set of facts will make your mind up about this referendum. There were, firstly there were far too many things we didn't know and secondly there were a set of principles and value judgments you had to make. That's the majesty of decisions like these. That's why we give them to voters and we should be excited about doing that in a democracy...
I don't really believe in such a thing as hate speech. I don't believe there's such a thing as hate crimes. It seems ridiculous to me that it's more of a crime to hit me than other people just because I'm gay. Everybody wants to hit me, it should be less of a crime. You know I think it's ridiculous and I don't really don't really believe in this sort of violent speech thing the left keeps pushing. It seems, strikes me as completely preposterous. The effect of Donald Trump is going to be to open up the Overton Window and to make things acceptable again which ought to be acceptable. Perfectly reasonable and respectable points of view...
You have to try and persuade people who voted Tory fourteen months ago to vote Labour so inevitably you stretch your coalition and this is the point I'm trying to get to about authenticity. It's quite easy to be authentic and narrow. It's very difficult to be authentic and broad. And a pressure group is narrow and deep. And a political party is by its nature broad but therefore shallower. I think it's the nature of democratic politics that that happens, not that there's some particular flaw in New Labour. It happens with all political movements"

‘Parrot Man’ in tussle with Ngee Ann City management - "Mr Zeng, 65, would be in his wheelchair, often with his parrot, and whenever he sets up his stall at the centre of the narrow and highly used linkway, the mall’s security would call the police to get him to leave, but he keeps returning. Last month, in a drastic last-ditch attempt, the mall’s management put up a notice along the walkway that reads: “Please do not donate any money to me. I am capable person that [sic] can walk and ride bike”. The sign also showed four photographs of Mr Zeng, dressed in his familiar white robes, and his activities along Orchard Road... Mr Zeng said that the management was “selfish” and “jealous” of him receiving money from the shoppers... since January, the police have recorded at least seven of Mr Zeng’s disclosed offences at Ngee Ann City, which include begging, use of abusive language on a police officer, and a case of assault of the mall’s security manager in April. He was arrested in several of these instances... Mr Zeng told TODAY he no longer goes to the temple since he dropped his colostomy bag there and felt embarrassed for the smell he caused at the end of last year... The management has also received feedback from “several” shoppers about Mr Zeng, and it is increasingly concerned that his presence might put off visitors to the mall. Most of them mentioned the bird droppings from Mr Zeng’s parrot, given the concerns over the spread of avian flu

Infants prefer toys typed to their gender, says study | City, University of London - "Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL. The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated... “Biological differences give boys an aptitude for mental rotation and more interest and ability in spatial processing, while girls are more interested in looking at faces and better at fine motor skills and manipulating objects. When we studied toy preference in a familiar nursery setting with parents absent, the differences we saw were consistent with these aptitudes""
Considering this replicates what we see in wild animals, it is even more proof of how insidious patriarchy is!

Peter Allan:'Feminine care' signs should be gender neutral - "a high-profile hate-crime officer warned High Street stores that ‘feminine care’ signs on women’s sanitary products breached gender equality rules. Sergeant Peter Allan was branded ‘meddlesome’ and ‘over-officious’ in an angry backlash, after telling Tesco and Sainsbury’s that men might want to use the sanitary products and suggesting the signs were discriminatory. Sussex Police faced a deluge of condemnation and disbelief after the officer used social media to advise stores to swap feminine-specific signs for gender-neutral alternatives such as ‘personal hygiene’ or ‘personal care’... Some people thought his views were so misguided, they asked Sussex Police if it was a parody Twitter account. Lev Ben-Avraham tweeted: ‘This is the reason people have no confidence in the police. Two weeks to get a call back after a burglary because you’re too busy policing words’... Feminist campaigner Julie Bindel said: ‘This isn’t anything to do with policing and it’s a waste of time and irresponsible for an officer to be using his position like this to put pressure on supermarkets.’ Sgt Allan works with the lesbian, gay and transgender community and helps to recruit hate-crime ambassadors across the county. The officer’s controversial comments emerged after he joined shoppers in denouncing Marks & Spencer as ‘sexist’ – forcing a store to change its toilet signs. The women’s sign at the chain’s Shoreham-by-Sea store showed a woman with a baby, while the sign for the men’s toilet showed just a man. M&S added a baby sign to the men’s sign after the outcry."
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