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Monday, December 10, 2018

Links - 10th December 2018 (2)

Why Students Are Terrified (to Speak Their Minds) - "The student said she was silent because she was worried to share her opinion, for fear of being singled out or accidentally saying something offensive. I asked who else was not speaking for that reason. For the first time in my years of experience as a teaching assistant in the classroom, something happened that most teachers dream about: Everyone raised their hands. No one was talking because everyone was afraid. I encouraged them to speak despite their worries, and asked how I might make it easier for them to do that. Someone suggested that it would be easier if they were assigned an opinion so that they wouldn’t have to be responsible for holding it or feel bad for defending it. The students were eager to talk. They wanted to talk. But they were afraid of even letting themselves think out loud about a position that might land them in trouble through social sanctions and accusations that they are racists, fascists, bigots, or sexists. Political science students at a top Canadian university had become accustomed to having their mouths kept shut. It’s only a matter of time until the mind shuts, too."
Predictably, one commenter calls the author a "troll" and a right winger

Reasons to Be Fearful - "I’m more afraid of my allies than I am of opponents, since the latter can do me less harm... I am writing from the side of freedom. I’m writing to support nonconformists. I’m writing for the world’s heretics, eccentrics, truth-tellers, artists, and jokers... Like John Stuart Mill in his classic text On Liberty (originally published 1859), I am not concerned only about governmental threats to liberty and related values. Those threats are, of course, serious. The organized power of the modern state is vast and conspicuous. It merits vigilance for its grave potential to restrict our liberties. But even more dangerous, perhaps, and certainly more difficult to understand or restrain, is a less overt, more insidious kind of tyranny: what Mill called “the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling.” As Mill knew and explained, this can be more intrusive, pervasive, and effective than state power, even though the punishments it exacts are usually less devastating than those available to the state."

Ocasio-Cortez Comes Up With New Tactic To Dodge Questions She Can't Answer - "Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez still can't answer how America can afford to pay for an estimated $40 trillion in big government programs, which includes a socialist healthcare system for all. She also now claims that opponents who ask her questions that she can't answer "haven’t earned the right to ask" her those questions... Ocasio-Cortez's misleading claims about health care were dismantled by CNN's Jake Tapper in a fact-check segment"

Sinead O'Connor won't mix with 'disgusting' white people after becoming a Muslim - "the Irish singer announced she'd turned her back on Catholicism and converted to Islam.She changed her name to Shuhada' Davitt after becoming a Muslim.And now she's admitted to feeling something "so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it".
Apparently there're no white muslims

Notre Dame Group Wants Campus Internet Service to Block Porn - "a group of students argued that allowing students on campus to access internet porn is a violation of the “social justice” principles that the school espouses"
So much for if you don't like it, don't watch it

Study Finds People Are Morally Outraged by Those Who Decide Not to Have Kids - "both men and women were stigmatized for choosing not to have kids—despite the fact that the conversation around reproductive rights and a woman's right to choose is so polarizing. "I was somewhat surprised by this too," she tells Broadly, "but that was probably due to my own personal experiences as a woman. When I looked at the past literature, the few studies that included opportunities for participants to rate men without children yielded similar findings.""
So much for gender stereotypes

Why the French don’t show excitement - "“You Americans,” he said, “live in the faire [to do]. The avoir [to have]. In France, we live in the être [to be].”... For Julie Barlow, Canadian co-author of The Story of French and The Bonjour Effect, this is largely due to the implied enthusiasm in the word ‘excited’, something that’s not sought after in French culture. She notes that Francophone Canadians, culturally North American rather than French, find work-arounds such as ‘Ça m’enthousiasme’ (‘It enthuses me’)... “Verbally, ‘I'm so excited’ is sort of a smile in words. French people prefer to come across as kind of negative, by reflex... those who are unable to show the proper emotional detachment within French society can even be perceived as being somehow deranged, something that is exemplified by the pejorative labelling of former President Nicolas Sarkozy as ‘l’excité’, due to the zeal he shows in public appearances... “Life in France places you happily in the present tense,” Paris-based author Matthew Fraser told The Local, “unlike in Anglo-Protestant countries where everything is driving madly towards the future.”"

The far left’s Islamist blind spot | Coffee House - "In the 1990s, the Socialist Workers Party could see Islamism as a resource a wily left might exploit and direct. Islamists ‘could be tapped for progressive purposes providing a lead came from a rising level of workers’ struggle,’ one of its ideologues opined in 1994. By the millennium it was impossible to separate the tail from the dog or decide who was leading whom. Radical Islamists killed Americans and hated Western democracy, just as the old revolutionary left had done. All socialists had to to do was forget Islamists wanted to create a clerical-fascist dystopia, and they might be comrades. The far left willingly fell into amnesia...
‘Do you condemn Hamas’,’ I asked.
‘We don’t think it’s our business to tell Palestinians what to think.’
‘That’s funny,’ I thought, as I turned down the offer, ‘you seem very keen on telling everyone else what to think.’...
The leaders of the far left are for the Shia forces in Islam’s civil war, even though the majority of Britain’s Muslims are Sunnis. When Assad gases Syrian Sunnis, white leftists back Putin’s propaganda that mass poisoning of civilians could be fake news. Corbyn took the money of Assad and Putin’s allies in Tehran and has shown no willingness to protect the murdered people of Aleppo. To date, there is no sign of British Sunni organisations realising what their friends have done. It is sufficient that Labour politicians hate Israel and ‘Zionists’ with the required ferocity. The disconnect will not last forever, and one day I expect to see this shameless and witless clique learn that, if they ride the sectarian tiger, they must expect to be eaten."

Flying the tricolour and other Irish flags could be a criminal offence in Scotland - "Ireland's national flag and several other Irish banners are potentially illegal in Scotland if used "in a provocative manner"

The troubling relationship between anime and fascism
Fiction apparently isn't just fiction

The Da Vinci mystery: why is his $450m masterpiece really being kept under wraps? - "if the Louvre Abu Dhabi really has got doubts about Salvator Mundi, they will most likely be about its condition. For there really is a problem with this painting and it is there for anyone to see. If the Louvre – both its new outpost and its home in Paris, which has the most sophisticated conservation technology on Earth – has not yet spotted the issue, all its curators need to do is check out an Instagram post that materialised just after the painting’s sale last year... “Photographs seem to show that, before it was touched up, it was all Leonardo,” he says. “They show the painting mid-restoration – and it looks as if the subsequent retouching has obscured the quality of the face.” Clayton is not questioning the painting’s authenticity. He’s suggesting that a very pure Leonardo has been partly “obscured”."

After a year of #MeToo, American opinion has shifted against victims - "this year-long storm of allegations, confessions and firings has actually made Americans more sceptical about sexual harassment... The share of American adults responding that men who sexually harassed women at work 20 years ago should keep their jobs has risen from 28% to 36%. The proportion who think that women who complain about sexual harassment cause more problems than they solve has grown from 29% to 31%. And 18% of Americans now think that false accusations of sexual assault are a bigger problem than attacks that go unreported or unpunished, compared with 13% in November last year... Surprisingly, these changes in opinion against victims have been slightly stronger among women than men"
Maybe women are more concerned because an obsession with sexual harassment and being too credulous about claims hurts real victims, who are more likely to be women

Fake #MeToo Claims: Pew finds worries of fake sexual harassment claims - "34% of poll takers told Pew that employers firing accused men before finding out all the facts is a major issue (39% called it a minor problem)."
I'm more alarmed that 39% don't think it's a real problem that you can get fired without all the facts being out

Rose McGowan clarifies #MeToo remarks: 'I never said #MeToo is a lie' - "McGowan also claimed she was shunned by the #MeToo community, frequently left out of the survivors’ brunches and campaign lunches, despite being one of the most outspoken members... The "Charmed" alum vowed to never work in Hollywood again, the paper reported, adding that although she doesn't agree with President Donald Trump's politics, she does share something in common with his supporters. “They hate Hollywood for being faux liberals – and they’re 100 percent right about that. It’s a bunch of faux liberals,” McGowan said. “It’s crap, and they know it is deep down, but they’re living an empty life, and to me that’s their punishment. They get to live the lives they live.” The "Charmed" alum vowed to never work in Hollywood again, the paper reported, adding that although she doesn't agree with President Donald Trump's politics, she does share something in common with his supporters. “They hate Hollywood for being faux liberals – and they’re 100 percent right about that. It’s a bunch of faux liberals,” McGowan said. “It’s crap, and they know it is deep down, but they’re living an empty life, and to me that’s their punishment. They get to live the lives they live.”"

Midwestern Poke Chain Threatening Legal Action Against Native Hawaiians For Using Their Own Language and Selling Their Own Food - "A Midwestern chain of poke stores named Aloha Poke is under fire this week for threatening legal action against Native Hawaiian small businesses who use the words “Aloha” and “Poke” in combination to sell the traditional rice and fish dishes."

Non-halal booths at Melaka food expo shut down - "The Melaka International Trade Center (MITC) in Ayer Keroh has issued an apology for allowing non-halal products inside its exhibition hall. MITC CEO Abdul Wahab Ibrahim, when issuing the apology, said seven stalls selling pork-based products at the Tastefully Food and Beverage expo were ordered to be closed following criticism. Netizens said that was the first time non-halal products were sold inside the exhibition hall. Previously, such booths with non-halal products were restricted to the car park area."
Apartheid is good; good luck hosting international expositions

Singaporeans spend most on food and beverages: Poll - "A poll on Singaporeans’ spending habits over the past three months found that they spent the most on food and beverages. A Singaporean could spend an average of $17,000 if he eats out every day for a year.The key reason for such spending could be that Singaporeans prefer the ease of finding readily available cooked food to the hassle of preparing meals at home, according to the survey conducted by e-commerce company ShopBack. More than 95 per cent of the respondents eat out at least once per day. Also, 50 per cent of respondents are willing to spend twice or more on a meal over the weekend. The average spend per meal is roughly $12 on a weekday and $24.50 on a weekend... nine in 10 respondents own at least one credit card, while about half of them own four or more credit cards."

Liberals believe politics can be settled. They're wrong. - "Whether the issue concerns public policy or the fundamental moral principles undergirding American public life, progressives tend to presume that their own positions deserve to be treated as lying beyond the give-and-take of political disagreement and debate.What the rise of a less liberal, more radical, intransigent, and populist right is forcing progressives to confront is that this way of conceiving of democratic politics is a fiction. Nothing in democratic politics is given — or rather, the things we consider given at any moment enjoy this status for no more exalted reason than that public opinion (expressed primarily through elections) favors treating it as such. But the settlement or consensus in its favor is always temporary and contingent. The contestation of politics, the struggle over power and ideas, over the Constitution and the law and who we are as a political community, never ends. It's always possible for a settlement or consensus at one moment of history to be rethought, overturned, or reversed. Rights granted can later be rescinded — and there's no way to prevent that from happening beyond continuing the fight, day after day. History isn't an arc slowly bending toward justice. It's a battlefield on which a skirmish line shifts back and forth in an unending contest between ideological combatants"

A new life of Churchill

A new life of Churchill - History Extra

"‘The Prime Minister would cry everything from pets to friends dying to., you know, he was very, very’

‘Weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, he would cry over the story of a noble dog struggling through the snow to its master. Yes, it was, he was - this is one of the mistakes that people make in seeing him as a late Victorian aristocrat.

Just because he was born in that period of the stiff upper lip doesn't mean that he was one himself. He was actually much more throwback to the Regency period, much more Romantic period where people didn't mind wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

In the great, eight January 1806, funeral of Lord Nelson - all eight admirals carrying his coffin were in tears and that's very much the kind of person Churchill was... At key moments of the war when he was cheered in the House of Commons he used to start crying... It's just not very British in those days...

‘His actions, or perhaps lack of during the Bengal Famine of 1943 is one of the things that people often talk about when criticizing Churchill. So, throughout, 3 million people died during this famine. How culpable was he for this and could he have done more, do you think?’

‘He was absolutely not culpable in the slightest. It's appalling, this myth that has been created about this. In October 1942, huge cyclone hit, hit eastern India and it destroyed the rice crop. And it also destroyed lots of the roads and railways to which, which were needed in order to, to feed the population, which was therefore going to starve as a result. Now, in the past, we were able to bring huge amounts of rice, this isn't the first time a cyclone had done this. In the past, in peacetime, we were able to bring in rice from Burma, and Thailand and Malaysia, and various other places to feed the populations, none of which we could have access to, because the Japanese wouldn’t let us.

We also had Indianised the administration from 1935 onwards. And so local governments which were Indian, dominated by Indians, were responsible for the famine relief, and as well as the British Raj. And the viceroy Lord Linlithgow didn't do a very good job, neither did Lord, Lord Wavell at the beginning either. And so there is an element of British culpability.

There's also Indian capability. Because they didn't, they refused to sell rice to the Bengal government. There were any number of things that did go wrong. But we actually had Japanese U boats in the Bay of Bengal. And the idea that, that huge amounts of grain could be, could be shipped in there was, was, frankly, strategically wrong.

Churchill wrote desperate letters to, to Franklin Roosevelt and others to try and get as much grain in there as possible. And the idea that he, that he was happy to see people starve is a complete libel on him.’…

‘It's very easy to forget that he was actually born 144 years ago, it would have been strange if he hadn't believed in white superiority, because, however obscene and ludicrous we see it to be today, and know it to be today because of science, back in those days, Charles Darwin was still alive when Churchill's at school and people assume the Darwinist theory of evolution, of species could be extended to races as well, and therefore, did believe that the white people were superior to to non whites.

And you have to see this, therefore, in its proper historical context. It would be like complaining about Oliver Cromwell and saying he wasn't in favor of socialized medicine.

What Churchill took from this concept of, of white superiority was the whites and certainly the British whites, at least, had a profound moral duty to take care of the natives under their, under the control of the British Raj. And this was something, a, a duty that he found - a paternalist duty of course - but one that he actually committed himself to for his lifetime. He believed in the British Empire, and it was not just because the Britons would do well out of the British Empire. He believed that everybody would’...

I think Churchill would have been a pretty good politician nowadays, I think he'd be great on Twitter, for example... he’s hilariously funny, and lots of his jokes could be fitted into 280 characters. He was, he was perfectly capable of brilliant repartee. He put down hecklers superbly, he was quick witted. And so actually, I think he’d have a massive, he'd have a far bigger Twitter following than Donald Trump, for example...

[On Brexit] His daughter Mary Soames said, don't try and play the game: What would Winston do? And so I'm not about to do that."

Links - 10th December 2018 (1)

Report: Twitter Deleting Accounts at Request of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - "Twitter has reportedly deleted as many as 10,000 accounts at the request of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a party group that supports Democrats running for the U.S. House of Representatives."

Children's vaccinations and development checks prevent hospital admissions in childhood - "Children who receive nursery vaccinations and development checks are less likely to be admitted to hospital during childhood years."

Conservatives are right: The news media is very liberal - "Study after study has shown that the mainstream media leans left, and that, as economists Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo have written, “an almost overwhelming fraction of journalists are liberal.”... This state of affairs is very distressing to conservatives, who, along with independents, increasingly distrust the news media. So why hasn’t the free market corrected this imbalance between the demand for conservative news and the supply? It’s because economic outcomes are driven by much more than supply and demand. Institutions, rules, and power matter just as much as what consumers demand... The hyper-educated media elite are trading the better pay they might fetch in corporate communications (for example) for the prestige of journalism work. If managers of media companies tried to force these workers to produce content that robs them of the benefits of working in journalism, they’ll simply find work elsewhere."
So much for reality having a known liberal bias

The Danger in Media Telling Only Half the Story on Political Violence - "Another thing you might not realize is that many of the skirmishes involving the Proud Boys group were actually caused by Antifa and Democratic Socialists of America activists—though you'd hardly know it from the way most reporters frame these events—and Antifa social media pages have not been shut down. Comparing media coverage between Antifa and conservative groups is, I believe, particularly instructive... there have been numerous examples of Antifa violence which have not had anything whatsoever to do with protesting "fascists" or any kind of right-wing activity at all. For example, the recent takeover of multiple streets in downtown Portland, Oregon, or any of numerous examples of Antifa members attacking journalists. What's more, over the past 4-5 years there have been dozens of examples of left-wing protesters using violence to shut down mainstream conservative (or simply non-progressive) speakers like Charles Murray, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Milo Yiannopoulos and others. Yet no organized conservative group attempted to prevent Mark Bray from speaking. His talk—which explicitly defended Antifa's use of violence in the face of right-wing speech on the basis that allowing such speech could lead to fascism—was not silenced anywhere in the United States. Meanwhile, many people who have never called for or defended any kind of violence have been subject to aggressive "no platforming" protests which have included substantial property damage, death threats, and physical assaults. Somehow the supposed "fascists" are generally allowing other perspectives to be heard while the "anti-fascists" are not only attempting to violently silence the most abhorrent voices but also thoughtful academics, journalists, and non-political commuters. We rarely hear this discussed in major media, and Antifa is frequently presented as not only well-intended, but actually heroic... vastly more people heard about Cesar Sayoc and the pipe-bomb scare than they did William Clyde Allen's ricin letters - although, again, both were targeted towards major political figures and both should have been treated as deadly assassination attempts until the ineffectiveness was confirmed... Only getting half the story makes it easy to blame your political opponents for everything that's going wrong in the world, but it's also a mistake. If Trump—for example—is to blame for people like Cesar Sayoc, Jr.'s failed bombing spree, is Bernie Sanders to blame for James Hodgkinson? Is Maxine Waters responsible for Farzad Fazeli? Is Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, or Eric Holder the cause of arson and vandalism in Wyoming?... When mass media displays such a clear bias—and please make no mistake, whether fully intentional or not, that's exactly what this is—then the people who are on the losing end of that bias are not going to be happy. And since they're actually justified in their complaints, it's very easy for them to convince people who have less skin in the game that media isn't trustworthy as well. All this does is push people further to the extremes, which makes it easier for the biggest lunatics to find reasons to believe even crazier conspiracy theories and find reinforcement for their belief that violence is the appropriate response."

Elderly woman questioned by police as hate criminal after ‘beeping car horn at black driver’ - "Hate crime regulations forced police to quiz the pensioner under caution because the other driver reported it as one... The other driver was "taking ages" at a petrol station, so the woman, in her seventies, beeped her horn to get her to move, he revealed. Mr Stansfeld described the woman as a "pillar of society" and called for a review of current rules after the woman had to be questioned on suspicion of a hate crime... current laws mean detectives have to investigate anything that is “perceived” to be a hate crime, which could result in “huge injustices”... "It was an absolute classic. An elderly couple turned up at a petrol station and there was a woman who had filled up with petrol in front of them. "She was taking ages fiddling around and the lady who was driving, who was in her seventies, peeped on the horn and out flew an Afro-Caribbean lady who screamed abuse at them, went into the kiosk and reported it as a hate crime."

Diablo Immortal Gets Downvoted To Oblivion Causing SJWs And NPCs To Attack Gamers - "As is typical with today’s SJW-controlled media, the NPCs came out in full force against gamers. Attacking them, denigrating them, and proving that #GamerGate was right all along: game journalists are corrupt, anti-gamer scumbags."

Why Is the Fight for Free Speech Led by the Psychologists? - "1. The conclusions academics reach tend to rankle the right. There are exceptions. If your research draws on evolutionary psychology, focuses on innate behavioral differences, or touches any sort of psychometrics (e.g., IQ), the angry tide does not sweep in from the right. The wave these men and women fear crashes in from leftward side. Moreover, the sort of leftist opposition that the academic consensus on these topics face leaves little room for rational debate or compromise: controversies over psychometrics or evolutionary psychology are usually framed in terms of good and evil, not right and wrong. The scientists involved are to be conquered, not reasoned with...
3. behavioral scientists have not yet adopted the rhetorical techniques or methodology of inquiry of "critical theory." In contrast, see how these modes of inquiry have swallowed up the fields of anthropology and communications, and established creeping colonies in history, sociology, and area studies. Given the left-leaning sympathies of almost all in the profession, the threat that the same might happen to the study of human behavior is real...
Haidt et. al. are confident they can win the debate if they are allowed to debate. For the heterodox anthropologist or sociologist the game is already over: their discipline has already been conquered. For the economist, the threat is too remote to take seriously. Behavioral science exists in that rare in-between: methodologically, it has the tools to fight back against the excesses of the activist. Socially, it provides a compelling reason for its practitioners to use them."

Is it now a crime to be a twat? - "I cannot be the only person who finds the Metropolitan Police’s promise to investigate the Grenfell Tower bonfire video more chilling than the video itself... The fury over the Grenfell Tower video has been grimly fascinating. It has confirmed that virtue-signalling has now crossed the line from being the irritating pastime of time-rich tweeters keen to advertise their PC probity and has become an actual menace to the free society. Following an orgy of signalled virtue over this video, which included not just the usual suspects but also Theresa May, Sajid Javid, Diane Abbott and various police chiefs, the police clearly felt they had no choice but to investigate this back-garden idiocy. So now we have virtue-policing – policing designed not to crack an actual crime but to demonstrate the decency of the police. The police appear to have launched an investigation in order to make a political and moral point about both the wickedness of the video and the benevolence of the police. This is not what the police should be for. Unless you live in Iran, of course, where morality police are a thing"

Cooking with cum - Natural Harvest & Semenology | Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes & Semenology - The Semen Bartender's Handbook - "This is the ultimate handbook for mixologists looking for ingredients that go beyond exotic fruit juices and rare spirits. Driven by a commitment and passion for the freshly harvested ingredient, Semenology pushes the limits of classic bartending. Semen is often freshly available behind most bar counters and adds a personal touch to any cocktail. The connoisseur will appreciate learning how to mix selected spirits to enhance the delicate flavors of prostate milk. The book provides useful tips that cover every detail of Semenology, from mixing and presentation to harvesting and storage advice...
Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients – you will love this cookbook!"

Women are colder than men for very real reasons - "The biggest factor in the different perceptions of temperature between men and women is that women are, in fact, just warmer to begin with. A study done by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1992 looked at core body temperatures of both men and women. Their results found that though both men and women had core temperatures that varied throughout the day, women's core temps were, on average, slightly higher than men... though women's core body temperatures were higher on average, their hands were consistently colder. And it wasn't a subtle change — the study found women's hands to be about three degrees cooler than men's... Men naturally have higher metabolic rates than women — a fact that has been annoying women for ages. But that doesn't just mean they have an easier time controlling their waistlines. The fact that the metabolism of most men runs at about 23 percent higher than women's also means women tend to be a lot colder than men... men have more muscle and less fat than women. Since muscle is better at generating heat, this gives men an advantage when it comes to keeping warm in cool temps... men are larger than women, both in height and weight. Since women tend to be smaller, they usually have a larger surface area to volume ratio, meaning more heat is lost at a faster speed... women's body temperatures tend to fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycles due to rising and falling hormone levels"

Before They Were Stars: Jodie Foster in a Batshit Scary McDonald’s Commercial - "This is a very old and very creepy McDonald’s commercial that Jodie Foster appeared in when she was only nine years old, but that’s not the most notable thing about it. In this ad, young Jodie is upset because there are no drinks available at McDonald’s since the evil Grimace stole all the cups. That’s right, they literally refer to him as the “evil” Grimace! Turns out the big purple guy actually started out as a villain in the McDonaldland universe before becoming one of Ronald McDonald’s buddies."

Canberra woman admits to falsifying rape claim that saw her former partner jailed - "A Canberra woman who accused her former partner of rape nearly five years ago has admitted she made up the claim, which saw him spend months behind bars... Parkinson later admitted she staged the scene to make it more convincing, upturning a peg basket, planting a condom wrapper at the side of the house, inflicting injuries on herself and pretending to have lost her memory."

MIT Professor Reveals Bots Helped Hillary Clinton More Than Trump - "Tauhid Zaman, an associate professor of operations management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, revealed that “Trump bots were far less effective at shifting people’s opinions than the smaller proportion of bots backing Hillary Clinton.”... In 2015, an audit of Clinton’s Twitter account from the Washington Examiner revealed that she had the most fake followers out of all of the 2016 presidential election candidates"

Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts over trademark as boys welcome girls - "The Girl Scouts of the United States of America filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday, after the Boy Scouts decided to drop “Boy” from its namesake program and start welcoming older girls"
Meanwhile, if they'd continued to be called Boy Scouts, someone would've sued them for a sexist name. You can't win

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Links - 8th December 2018 (2)

The social costs of ride-hailing may be larger than previously thought - Ubernomics - "Far from reducing congestion by encouraging people to give up their cars, as many had hoped, ride-hailing seems to increase it. Bruce Schaller, a transport consultant, estimates that over half of all Uber and Lyft trips in big American cities would otherwise have been made on foot or by bike, bus, subway or train. He reckons that ride-hailing services add 2.8 vehicle miles of driving in those cities for every mile they subtract. A new working paper by John Barrios of the University of Chicago and Yael Hochberg and Hanyi Yi of Rice University spells out one deadly consequence of this increase in traffic. Using data from the federal transport department, they find that the introduction of ride-sharing to a city is associated with an increase in vehicle-miles travelled, petrol consumption and car registrations—and a 3.5% jump in fatal car accidents. At a national level, this translates into 987 extra deaths a year. What could be done to tip the balance back to benefits overall? “Congestion pricing is the most direct solution,” says Jonathan Hall of the University of Toronto. Several cities, including London, Stockholm and Singapore, have moved in this direction, charging drivers for entering busy areas at peak hours. If ride-hailing firms tweaked their pricing to encourage carpooling, that would help, too."

Don Lemon doubles down after calling white men ‘biggest terror threat’ in U.S. - The Washington Post - “Unfortunately this is how so many leftists actually think,” he continued. “Disgusting! Imagine the outrage if you changed ‘white men’ with any other demographic?”

Who carries out more terror attacks on U.S. soil: Right wing or Islamic extremists? - "Several studies show there have been more terror related incidents or events involving right-wing extremists compared with Islamic jihadists. Many of these, however, were foiled plots that never resulted in an actual attack... One point that is clear from the research: Islamic terror attacks on U.S. soil, though less frequent, have been much more deadly per attack... Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino agreed there are far more incidents of terrorism involving right wing extremists. The Islamic jihadist inspired attacks, however, have garnered more attention in the United States because they’ve been much more lethal. He cited the example of the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016 in which a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic terror group ISIS killed 49 people."
And these analyses leave out September 11th. Comment from elsewhere: "Since Hiroshima the US has used just as many nukes as Swtizerland, so what's everyone crying about? Leaving out the most significant attack in our history to manipulate the data to serve your narrative is infuriatingly disrespectful from where I'm standing."
Meanwhile Snopes will claim that it's misleading to say that police shoot more white people than black, because there're more white people in the US

An0maly on Twitter - "Facebook is now suspending accounts for quoting Don Lemon. Really. I got a 24 hour suspension for posting a direct tweet from Sarah Jeong. How come liberals get promotions & million dollar contracts for speaking foul -- & we get banned for simply quoting them?

Comment on Lucas Lynch - "Fact: The left-leaning Mother Jones data on mass shooters, used by CNN and many other outlets, proves whites are not overrepresented as mass shooters in the U.S. For terrorism it’s even a smaller percentage (Jihadists are responsible for near 60% of terrorism deaths, according to widely respected New America Foundation). Factually, black males commit around 50% of gun homicides, and mass shootings make up around 1% or less of all homicides. So if people want to go around pointing fingers ...
Indeed, white males DO commit a great number of mass shootings, but it's EQUAL or less than their share of the population. And mass shootings and hate crimes are far less than 1/100th of homicides. (Hate crime murders are 1/1000th.)
It’s a fact-based argument that “blacks commit more crime” across the board, including mass shootings (16% of total), at a HIGHER rate than their percentage of the population (13%). Non-Hispanic whites (63%) technically commit more mass shootings than anyone else in the United States, but the same or possibly LESS than their percentage of population (64% of total, according to Mother Jones-data interpreted by CNN … or possibly 54% according to Mother Jones-data interpreted by Newsweek).
Ironically, it's Asians that CNN reported to be commit mass shootings at 2 1/2 times their population!"
Whether per capita is the relevant metric depends on your problem statement If you are trying to identity problem populations to target, it is a relevant metric. E.g. surveillance of extremist mosques
If you're looking at interventions that are easily rolled out to a population, total numbers might be more useful. E.g. if guns kill a lot of people, reforming gun laws may make more sense to reduce gun deaths as opposed to focusing on nuclear waste even if nuclear waste is more deadly to those who work with it/encounter it (i.e. on a per capita basis)

How Can I Drink Bubble Tea Without Finishing the Tea Before the Bobas? - "It’s better to use a slim cup than a wide cup. This can create a taller layer of bobas, and there is less area to catch the bobas when few are remaining.
Don’t add too much ice. If you add ice, let it melt to add volume to the tea. I usually shake my cup before drinking to ensure the entire drink is cold in case the ice was dropped on top without shaking or stirring. The trade-off is that it might dilute the tea.
It’s better to take a powerful sip than a weak sip. Powerful sips ensure you get the bobas, while weak sips may only give you the tea. Just don’t be so aggressive you end up choking."

1,600 dead, 70,000 homeless. Why wouldn’t tsunami-hit Indonesia want aid? - "Indonesia’s reluctance in accepting foreign aid has previously been attributed to national pride, a desire for self-sufficiency or protecting the nation’s sovereignty. According to some analysts, Widodo risks looking weak if he accepts outside help too readily, while risking a political backlash if Indonesia cannot handle the disaster on its own. As if to save face, this week Securities Minister Wiranto explained Indonesia’s acceptance of assistance for the Sulawesi disaster as helping bilateral diplomacy with other countries... India and Bangladesh are among countries that have rejected or limited international assistance in recent years, but have been generous when it comes to providing aid, for example to Rohingya refugees."

Sweden Blows Tax Millions on 'Feminist' Trucks and 'Equal' Firefighting - "Feminist trucks that are "better suited for women," a new system for "greater equality in banking" and design solutions "for a more equal firefighting." These are only some of the new projects scheduled to receive tax money from the government authority Vinnova, which promotes "anti-bias innovations.""

Swedish Feminists Are So Bored They’re Telling Men How to Sit on the Bus - "To counter this "normalized expression of power" (that’s what they call slouching), a group of firebrand feminists have set up a blog called "Macho i Kollektivtrafiken" ("Macho in Public Transport"), encouraging readers to send in sneaky snaps of men in relaxed poses. The aim is to spread awareness of a "symbolic and active recreation not just of power, but of a stereotypical form of masculinity." Do Swedish women really feel threatened by men who slouch on the subway? Can this seriously be construed as a feminist issue? Do feminists today really view women as weaklings who are traumatized by straddle-legged passengers and who don't have the guts to tell men to scooch over? It's tempting to suggest that the women posting pictures of slouching men online should grow a pair, and point out that feminists have fought hard to shake the image of women as thin-skinned victims off and to prove that women have agency, gumption, and power...
'this is part and parcel of the kind of oppression that leads to women being raped, getting lower salaries, and being exposed to violence in relationships.'"
From 2012. Vice wouldn't publish this today

Externalities and the Swedish Man Tax - "the feminist council of Sweden’s Left Party made worldwide headlines when former party leader Gudrun Schyman proposed a radical initiative that included—among other things—a “man tax”. The idea was to use tax policy to correct for the supposed “externality” of men’s violent behavior toward women, and use the proceeds to fund anti-domestic-violence programs. Needless to say, the proposal was panned in the media. Now, a year later it appears Sweden’s Left Party is paying a steep political price for the radical proposal...
'SPARE a thought for Swedish feminists whose newly formed party is disintegrating after hardliners presented a manifesto advocating a “man tax”, the abolition of marriage and the creation of “gender-neutral” names'"

Already 20% of driving lessons in Sweden are in Arabic as migrants fail them in Swedish

Man fired from PBS for saying Meghan Markle is ‘not bad.’ The woman who complained had called Trudeau ‘hot’ - "A news writer with PBS who was fired for expressing admiration of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, complains of a double standard because his female coworkers were heard saying Justin Trudeau was “hot” without similar consequences... One woman, sitting some six metres away and unable to see the photo in question, his claim says, said his comment contravened company training on sexual harassment in the workplace; another said “Haven’t you learned?” Heckman denied his comment had a sexual connotation. It was, he claims, “intended to convey that the Duchess (of Sussex, as Markle is now known) possessed charm and beauty and was a suitable match for her fiancé, who has a reputation of possessing charm and handsome looks.” “No reasonable woman would consider his remark to be a sexual comment about the Duchess”"

Chef Who Thought Her Bloating Was Gluten Intolerance Turned Out To Be 33 Weeks Pregnant

Democratic Voters Move Leftward on a Range of Issues - "leaders in the Democratic Party have undergone a dramatic shift toward unalloyed support of immigration, including to a certain extent illegal immigration. But voters have moved as well. In 1994, just 32 percent of Democrats said that immigrants strengthened the country. Now 84 percent do... The percentage of Democrats who say that the government needs to do more to fight racism has risen from 57 to 81 since 2009. In 1994, four in 10 Democrats said that racial discrimination was the main reason black people couldn’t get ahead; in 2017, more than six in 10 did. White voters have moved especially dramatically, as Thomas Edsall notes: On both of these indicators, white Democrats are actually further left than black ones"

History According to Bob: Ancient Warfare, Ancient Workers

Choice excerpts:

Sea Peoples Part 2 - The Peleset:
The Philistines rose to a position of power in the region due to their military superiority over the local population, because they were iron users. There are lots of military engagements that are found in the Old Testament. The Philistines did have a law that stated if you were a non Philistine and you held more than a small handful of iron, you were subject to death because they were so concerned that their control, the people they were controlling would learn the technique, and there'd be more of them than there were Philistines.

Hyksos Part 2:
Analogy on the issue with training with the between the composite bow that the Hyksos had and the English longbow which took lots of practice. You needed lots of strength - the bowman in the English army during the Hundred Years War were almost deformed from the muscles that they built up in order to fire it

Ancient Siege Warfare Part 1:
If you just take the walled-in section. One of the earliest cities is of course Jericho and earliest Jerico is only ten acres so you might be able to put two thousand people in that. The general rule of thumb that archaeologists use for cities is two hundred people per acre. Jerusalem at the time of Sennacherib was probably about thirty five acres

Background to the Battle of Marathon Part 1:
What do they have the plumes over the top of their heads? Well that's to help entangle arrows coming down besides giving you notification where who's commanding where

Background to the Battle of Marathon Part 3:
If the Greek hoplite was outfitted with a full armour, that would mean that only about six percent of his total body area was uncovered. And most of these areas didn't have any major organs. For example your arms - you're going to have completely exposed arms, you're not gonna have gloves on. You may have a bracelets of some sort on the wrists but they're not going to have full grieves like you have in the Middle Ages, so that's open. The face is open, in some cases the throat is open and you would have your legs between the knees and the upper thigh - that would be open so you know those are the main areas. In recreated tests both broadhead and narrow tipped arrows were fired into replica Greek linen thorax cuirasses - this would be either linen or leather. The range that they were fired at was twenty five meters. The modern bow with the fifty five pound pull weight or draw weight - which is actually greater than that of the ancient Persian bow, most of the arrows - if they penetrated at all went in only about one or two millimeters. Of course the curved surface of a bronze plate cuirass was even more effective

Marathon Through the Eyes of Four Historians Part 1:
The Greek trophy which tends to mark the spot where the enemy turned and ran - so if you find a column on a Greek battlefield, that usually marks the point in a victory where the enemy turned and ran off. The interesting to note is that the word trophy that we use today is derived from a Greek word which means turn. So the trophy would have marked the spot where the heaviest fighting took place


Ancient Beauty Workers Part 1:
The Greek and Romans did not believe tattoos had any kind of beauty aspect. They used tattoos to humiliate people. So they're used on criminals, on prisoners, on slaves basically to label people. They referred to tattooing - or the Romans did - as stigmata or skin prick. Or to cut the skin with a sharp instrument.

04 June Ancient Beauty Workers Part 2:
It was also believed that a talisman garland would offer you protection. For example, a garland o wreath made with amethyst, roses and ivy leaves was supposed to protect you from drunkenness. You ever seen those paintings where you see all the people at an orgy or at a festival with the funny little hats? Well, that's supposed to keep them from getting drunk. Obviously, it doesn't work but they do look good

Ancient City Workers Part 1:
[On firefighting] The main weapon that was incredible at this time is the ancient fire extinguisher, which is called an astum [sp?]. It's a clay pot filled with chemicals that smother fires. And you go, wow, how did they come up with that? But if you think about it, if the ancients are good enough to make Greek fire, surely they had something around to counter in case of some kind of accident. You just take the clay pot, you put your chemicals in it, and you throw it like a hand grenade.

Links - 8th December 2018 (1)

China’s Race to Find Aliens First - "Science fiction is sometimes described as a literature of the future, but historical allegory is one of its dominant modes. Isaac Asimov based his Foundation series on classical Rome, and Frank Herbert’s Dune borrows plot points from the past of the Bedouin Arabs... seti does share some traits with religion. It is motivated by deep human desires for connection and transcendence. It concerns itself with questions about human origins, about the raw creative power of nature, and about our future in this universe—and it does all this at a time when traditional religions have become unpersuasive to many... In the first volume of his landmark series, Science and Civilisation in China, published in 1954, the British Sinologist Joseph Needham asked why the scientific revolution hadn’t happened in China, given its sophisticated intellectual meritocracy, based on exams that measured citizens’ mastery of classical texts. This inquiry has since become known as the “Needham Question,” though Voltaire too had wondered why Chinese mathematics stalled out at geometry, and why it was the Jesuits who brought the gospel of Copernicus into China, and not the other way around. He blamed the Confucian emphasis on tradition. Other historians blamed China’s remarkably stable politics. A large landmass ruled by long dynasties may have encouraged less technical dynamism than did Europe, where more than 10 polities were crammed into a small area, triggering constant conflict. As we know from the Manhattan Project, the stakes of war have a way of sharpening the scientific mind. Still others have accused premodern China of insufficient curiosity about life beyond its borders... even at China’s most prestigious academic institutions, a third of scientific papers are faked or plagiarized. Knowing how poorly the country’s journals are regarded, Chinese universities are reportedly offering bonuses of up to six figures to researchers who publish in Western journals. It remains an open question whether Chinese science will ever catch up with that of the West without a bedrock political commitment to the free exchange of ideas. China’s persecution of dissident scientists began under Mao, whose ideologues branded Einstein’s theories “counterrevolutionary.” But it did not end with him. Even in the absence of overt persecution, the country’s “great firewall” handicaps Chinese scientists, who have difficulty accessing data published abroad... The idea that civilizations expand ever outward might be woefully anthropocentric... Secular humanists won’t be spared a sobering intellectual reckoning with first contact... We have flattered ourselves that we are, in the words of Carl Sagan, “the universe’s way of knowing itself.” These are secular ways of saying we are made in the image of God."

NYT Opinion on Twitter - "What are the president's priorities?"
When you hate Trump so much you advocate invading the Middle East

Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a 'War Zone' - "Swedish Chief Prosecutor Lise Tamm has claimed that the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby is like “a war zone”. Ms. Tamm, who will become acting head of the anti-organised crime unit in the New Year, said that she would be looking to war-torn countries like Colombia and El Salvador to find new methods of handling the rampant violence in Sweden’s no-go zones, Sveriges Radio reports."

Comparing Prescriptive and Descriptive Gender Stereotypes About Children, Adults, and the Elderly - "Prescriptive stereotypes of elderly men and women were weaker. Overall, boys and men had more restrictive prescriptive stereotypes than girls and women in terms of strength and number."
For all the feminists who keep complaining about how gender stereotypes hurt women - those regarding women aren't actually strong

Kill Infinite Scroll – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US) - "This disables some infinite scroll scripts such as those from used by Tumblr."

Bitcoin Mining Alone Could Raise Global Temperatures Above Critical Limit By 2033 - "A recent UN climate report said that if global temperatures rose above 1.5 C it could lead to catastrophic climate change. Bitcoin alone could raise global temperatures by 2 C within two decades... Bitcoin’s energy consumption likely roughly equivalent to the energy needs of Austria and may be more resource intensive than mining gold... Most Bitcoin mines are located in China, but a few have cropped up in the United States and Canada as well. In some cases, these mines are so large that they use the same amount of electricity as the town they are located in, much to the ire of local residents"

Don’t Buy This: Bogus Food Expiration Dates Make You Waste Food - "Consumers throw away about half of the $218 billion worth of food wasted each year in the US—or about $375 per person—often because they're confused about the dates stamped on their food... While you should never eat mold, illnesses caused by e.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella are typically a result of improper food handling, improper hand washing or eating undercooked meat. Most food is safe for a lot longer than you think. Shelf-stable and frozen foods can last indefinitely so tossing that frozen pizza from last year is a huge waste. Same for dry foods like pasta, crackers and nuts. When in doubt, use your sense of sight, smell and texture to determine if your food is still good"

Barbra Streisand: Donald Trump Making Her Fat - "Lena Dunham blamed Trump for making her thin"

The ECHR’s ruling on defaming Mohammed is bad news for Muslims | Coffee House - "The ECHR would presumably be surprised to learn that far worse criticism is levelled at Aisha by some Shia Muslims, for whom she remains a polarising figure. This ruling could have wide-ranging – and unforeseen – implications, delivering a victory for those who do wish to criminalise criticism of Islam. Compare this decision (from a supposedly progressive and secular European court) with the ruling this week in Pakistan that Asia Bibi, the Christian woman unfairly accused of blasphemy, should be freed – the contrast is truly sobering. Ultimately, the ECHR’s logic rests on a depressing assumption that Europe’s Muslims are somehow incapable of intellectual debate and too fragile to hear criticisms of their religion. Yet this scrutiny is crucial for exposing Islamism – the totalitarian imposter of Islam – and countering its evils. Thanks to this ruling, the ability of Muslims like me – who oppose Islamism with all our being – to participate in public debate has been weakened. It’s bad news for Europe – and probably beyond."

A Racial Shakedown in Portland - "Portland is not normal. This is a city where antifa mobs are allowed to set up roadblocks and mob elderly drivers, all with the mayor’s apparent acquiescence... Ms. Khan accused the bicyclist of being “another white person calling the police on a black person.” She wasn’t. Portland Police have no record of that phone call taking place. It is hard to know how the pedestrian, derogatorily christened “Crosswalk Cathy” on social media, could have known the race of the car’s owners. Portland doesn’t offer its residents race-tagged parking permits (yet), and the incident occurred on a busy business street. But that didn’t stop Portland Mercury news editor Alex Zielinski from writing a provocative (and wrong) story with the headline, “Woman calls cops on Portland man’s parking job. She’s white. He’s black.”... Last week’s race controversy ignited by Portland Mercury is not the first time the progressive alternative paper has published race-baiting content. Last year, it ran a libelous (and subsequently retracted) column accusing various restaurants of religious and cultural appropriation—and suggesting they were guilty of “culinary white supremacy.” The predictable result of that column was the siccing of a mob on the female owners of Kook’s Burritos, the business featured most prominently in the piece. They deleted their social media accounts, shut down their food cart, and went into hiding. “Tribal hatreds are a dangerous thing to stoke,” said Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Diversity Delusion. She says most Americans are naïve about the tribal violence that defines much of the historical and modern human experience. “In the worst case, [victim ideologues] are fueling the fires of violent civil strife.” The genre of “white people doing something to black people” is, by now, a well-established media genre that generates easy clicks. But there is also an unsettling subplot that few seem willing to discuss. The two people of color who star in last week’s viral video both act abominably toward a young woman they’ve just met. In a city where too many bicyclists and pedestrians have been struck and killed in car accidents (2017 was one of the deadliest years with 45 killed), the woman did her role as a good citizen by calling a non-emergency hotline to report the car blocking the crosswalk. And it was Ms. Khan, not the pedestrian, who instantly racialized the incident, while her male partner called the woman an “idiot” and told her that she doesn’t belong in the neighborhood. Who’s the racist—not to mention segregationist—here?... Sha Ongelungel, who was recently profiled glowingly as a racial justice activist in The Guardian, published the woman’s employer information on Twitter and encouraged others to call or email them. They obliged and demanded that she be fired. Ms. Ongelungel stopped responding after I inquired if she took any steps to verify the couple’s (false) allegation... In a city whose guilty whites seem ready to roll over on any pretext, no complaint is too absurd to become fodder for race hustling."

HK star Nicholas Tse launches McDonald’s menu inspired by childhood comfort foods - "Called “My Taste of Hong Kong”, Tse’s menu features familiar flavours from traditional cha chaan teng (tea restaurants) and Hong Kong street foods...
Bolognese & Fried Egg Angus Beef Burger
Fried Onion Crispy Pork Cutlet Burger
Siew Mei (Hong Kong style roast meat) -flavoured Shake Shake Fries
Typhoon Shelter Crab-flavoured Shake Shake Fries
Cookie & Milk Tea McFlurry ice cream
Tropical Orange Punch"

What is a safe third country? - "The so-called ‘first country of asylum’ principle often justifies the decision to return asylum seekers to another country. It means that a country can reject a person’s asylum application if they have already been granted protection by another country. It is also often referred to as ‘safe third country’ principle. This broader term includes other relationships between an asylum seeker and a third country where they are deemed safe. These two principles are central to the Dublin Regulation, of which Norway is a member. The Dublin Regulation aims to streamline asylum management in Europe by only allowing an asylum application to be processed by one country; normally the country where the person first arrives in Europe. It seeks to avoid ‘asylum shopping’ when a person applies for protection in one country after being rejected by another. Although the Dublin Regulation is only valid for European countries that have signed it, the two previous principles are based on an interpretation of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and hence applicable to all countries that have acceded to it. The principles are not directly mentioned in the Convention, but derived from Article 31, which states that a refugee should not be punished for illegally entering a country if they are arriving directly from a country where they were under threat."
If you go from one safe country to another, are you still an asylum seeker or just an economic migrant?

The Simplest Way to Drastically Improve Your Life: More Sleep - The New York Times - "measurably improve your memory, overall cognitive performance, ability to learn new information, receptivity to facial cues, mood, ability to handle problems, metabolism, risk for heart disease and immune system... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called sleep deprivation a public health crisis, saying that one-third of adults don’t get enough sleep. Some 80 percent of people report sleep problems at least once per week, and according to a 2016 study, sleep deprivation “causes more than $400 billion in economic losses annually in the United States and results in 1.23 million lost days of work each year.”"

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Links - 5th December 2018 (2)

Are You Solving the Right Problems? - "Imagine this: You are the owner of an office building, and your tenants are complaining about the elevator. It’s old and slow, and they have to wait a lot. Several tenants are threatening to break their leases if you don’t fix the problem. When asked, most people quickly identify some solutions: replace the lift, install a stronger motor, or perhaps upgrade the algorithm that runs the lift. These suggestions fall into what I call a solution space: a cluster of solutions that share assumptions about what the problem is—in this case, that the elevator is slow... However, when the problem is presented to building managers, they suggest a much more elegant solution: Put up mirrors next to the elevator. This simple measure has proved wonderfully effective in reducing complaints, because people tend to lose track of time when given something utterly fascinating to look at—namely, themselves. The mirror solution is particularly interesting because in fact it is not a solution to the stated problem: It doesn’t make the elevator faster. Instead it proposes a different understanding of the problem.Note that the initial framing of the problem is not necessarily wrong. Installing a new lift would probably work. The point of reframing is not to find the “real” problem but, rather, to see if there is a better one to solve. In fact, the very idea that a single root problem exists may be misleading; problems are typically multicausal and can be addressed in many ways. The elevator issue, for example, could be reframed as a peak demand problem—too many people need the lift at the same time—leading to a solution that focuses on spreading out the demand, such as by staggering people’s lunch breaks."

Labour Party branch 'voted down motion condemning Pittsburgh synagogue attack' - "A local Labour Party branch has refused to pass a motion condemning the antisemitic attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead, according to a party activist. Steve Cooke, the secretary of Norton West branch in the Stockton North constituency, said he was “aghast” that the motion was voted down after members claimed there was too much focus on “antisemitism this, antisemitism that”. Members of the branch reportedly demanded that a reference to antisemitism be removed from the statement... They suggested the text on the synagogue attack should not specifically refer to antisemitism but should instead condemn all racism, which Mr Cooke said it already did. Mr Cooke said previous motions on Islamophobia and anti-migrant rhetoric had not been met with similar demands that they be made less specific and instead refer to all forms of racism... The executive of Stockton North Labour Party had previously voted down Mr Cooke’s attempts to have antisemitism training delivered to members... the Metropolitan Police said it was investigating possible antisemitic hate crimes committed by Labour members, after a dossier of cases was passed to its commissioner, Cressida Dick."
Yet All Lives Matter is racist

Walker’s Corner - Posts - "Superman shouldn't be white"
"The blacks already have a successful superhero can we latinos get superman if you are gonna be changing character races? He technically is an illegal alien anyway."

The European Union’s Neoliberal Dilemma - WSJ - "Those who say the European Union is a neoliberal plot are, of course, largely right. Any single market that allows free movement of capital and people by its very nature pits country against country, region against region and town against town in a competition to attract investment and productive people. The rewards flow to those that offer the best business environment, high-quality infrastructure and the right mix of skills. Those that get it wrong face stagnation or decline. Until the global financial crisis, the EU’s free movement of capital and people appeared to deliver only winners... Many of those countries whose economic models relied upon the free movement of capital—whether to finance corporate investment or government spending—were confronted by a sudden stop in funding that plunged their economies into recession. That in turn led many of their citizens to take advantage of the free movement of people to look for work elsewhere in the single market... Even for countries that haven't succumbed to populist backlash, the challenges of prospering in the single market are formidable. Take Latvia, which has seen more than 15% of its population emigrate in two waves, one after it joined the EU in 2004 and another in the aftermath of a severe financial crash in 2008."

The Real Reason They Hate Trump - WSJ - "Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared... the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents."

The First Rule of Microsoft Excel—Don’t Tell Anyone You’re Good at It - WSJ - "As an Excel expert, “you become indispensable, and that’s a double-edged sword,” Mr. McIllece said."

The Bias Response Team Is Watching - WSJ - "
‘The most important indication of bias is your own feelings,” the University of Michigan advises students. It then urges them to report on their peers, anonymously if they prefer, “and to encourage others to report if they have been the target or witness of a bias incident.” The Bias Response Team is there, ready to investigate and mete out justice. More than 200 American campuses have established similar administrative offices to handle alleged acts of “bias” that violate no law... Adjunct professor Mike Jensen had asked his students to read Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s “The Coddling of the American Mind” and debate controversial subjects, including gay marriage and transgender issues. According to the team’s report, a student who “identifies as a transwomen [sic]” told the Bias Response Team she was “very offended and hurt by this,” according to the bias incident report. A university official, Marshall Parks, warned Mr. Jensen that if he discussed such subjects again, he could face scrutiny by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as Title IX and Title VII investigations. “So if the topic’s worth that, it’s your call,” Mr. Parks said. Mr. Jensen secretly recorded the conversation. “I felt that I had no academic freedom,” he later said... Records from numerous universities show that even obviously silly or trivial incidents are taken seriously by Bias Response Teams. Back at Michigan, a residence hall director reported a phallic snow sculpture as a bias incident... One explanation for such absurdity is that Bias Response Teams are often composed of administrators whose jobs depend on the assumption that bias is widespread. When the University of Michigan was hiring a “bias incident and prevention and response coordinator,” it sought someone who could “enact cultural appropriation initiatives” and “partner with other campus and divisional social justice initiatives.” This makes Bias Response Team members bad cops with everything to lose, creating a bias toward finding bias."

Why the Left Is Consumed With Hate - WSJ - "For many on the left a hateful anti-Americanism has become a self-congratulatory lifestyle. “America was never that great,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said. For radical groups like Black Lives Matter, hatred of America is a theme of identity, a display of racial pride... How did the American left—conceived to bring more compassion and justice to the world—become so given to hate? It began in the 1960s, when America finally accepted that slavery and segregation were profound moral failings. That acceptance changed America forever. It imposed a new moral imperative: America would have to show itself redeemed of these immoralities in order to stand as a legitimate democracy. The genius of the left in the ’60s was simply to perceive the new moral imperative, and then to identify itself with it... for the left to wield this power, there had to be a great menace to fight against—a tenacious menace that kept America uncertain of its legitimacy, afraid for its good name.
This amounted to a formula for power: The greater the menace to the nation’s moral legitimacy, the more power redounded to the left. And the ’60s handed the left a laundry list of menaces to be defeated. If racism was necessarily at the top of the list, it was quickly followed by a litany of bigotries ending in “ism” and “phobia.”... the left’s success has plunged it into its greatest crisis since the ’60s. The Achilles’ heel of the left has been its dependence on menace for power. Think of all the things it can ask for in the name of fighting menaces like “systemic racism” and “structural inequality.” But what happens when the evils that menace us begin to fade, and then keep fading? ... White-on-black shootings evoke America’s history of racism and so carry an iconic payload of menace. Black-on-black shootings carry no such payload, although they are truly menacing to the black community. They evoke only despair. And the left gets power from fighting white evil, not black despair... For Martin Luther King Jr., hatred was not necessary as a means to power. The actual details of oppression were enough. Power came to him because he rejected hate as a method of resisting menace. He called on blacks not to be defined by what menaced them. Today, because menace provides moral empowerment, blacks and their ostensible allies indulge in it. The menace of black victimization becomes the unarguable truth of the black identity. And here we are again, forever victims"

The Secret to Surviving Military Service: Moisturizer, Foam Cleanser, Cucumber Face Mask - WSJ - "South Korea is a force in the global beauty industry and its carefully groomed pop idols have become global stars. And for many guys here, the gateway to face serums and 10-step skin-care regimens is their time as military conscripts... The average man in South Korea spends more than twice as much on skin care as men in any other country, according to market-research firm Euromonitor. South Korean men use an average of 13.3 cosmetics products each month... A poll of draftees this year by the South Korean Defense Ministry’s daily newspaper found that the two most popular products in the commissary were a snail-extract cream and a hydration cream... Amorepacific Corp. , a cosmetics maker that is one of South Korea’s biggest companies, pioneered a camouflage cream seven years ago that was easier on the pores. “Extreme Power Camo Cream,” with a formula that includes green tea, charcoal and red pine extracts, sold more than 50,000 units in its first six months... Even during joint U.S.-South Korean exercises, when the 23-year-old had to sleep and eat in simulated battle conditions, he managed to pack his skin-care essentials. “There aren’t any rules against skin care, so I kept up the routine even during training”"

Cultural Borrowing Is Great; The Problem Is Disrespect - WSJ - "the fluidity of power can make it tricky to establish who’s got the upper hand. How should we assess the power dynamic when black American performers help themselves to sartorial signage from Japan, one of the richest nations on the planet? Consider, for that matter, how eager India’s ruling elite has been to assert yoga as a national possession... Baba Ramdev does a terrific downward-facing-dog—he says it triggers hair growth—but in India, Hindu nationalists like him are the top dogs. Swami Ramdev himself controls a multibillion-dollar corporation. So try explaining to a low-caste Dalit or a Muslim in the subcontinent that the people they consider their overlords are really an oppressed, marginalized and subordinated group. “One person’s center is another’s periphery,” as the scholar of Hinduism Wendy Doniger has observed... The real problem is that ownership is the wrong model. The arts flourished in the world’s traditional cultures without being conceptualized as “intellectual property,” and the traditional products and practices of a group—its songs and stories, even its secrets—are not made more useful by being tethered to their supposed origins. But vigorous corporate lobbying has helped the idea of intellectual property to conquer the world. To accept the notion of cultural appropriation is ultimately to buy into a regime where corporate entities, acting as cultural guardians, “own” a treasury of intellectual property and extract a toll when others make use of it... People who parse such transgressions in terms of ownership have accepted a commercial system that is alien to the traditions they aim to protect. Yoga turns out to be an illuminating case study here. The religious-studies scholar Andrea Jain has looked at how major figures in the establishment of modern yoga, like K. Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar, sought to emphasize its putatively ancient roots, while also claiming biomedical authority. (Today, Swami Ramdev says yoga can cure cancer; also, homosexuality.) In reality, what most people know today as yoga—postures, breathing exercises—has little precedent in premodern sources... the scholar Mark Singleton has detailed specific similarities between yoga and a Danish gymnastics system that was taken up in the early years of the 20th century by the British and others... Well-meaning Westerners can thus find themselves colluding with right-wing Hindu nationalists who are intent on claiming ownership over complex, dynamic and adaptive practices. A little wokeness is a dangerous thing."

The Man Who Discovered ‘Culture Wars’ - WSJ - "For much of American history, the most salient cultural fault lines were between religious groups. Hostility between Protestants and Catholics prompted bitter battles over school curricula in the mid-19th century, and the fight over Prohibition pitted mostly Protestant “drys” against mostly Catholic “wets.” But by the 1960s cross-denominational conflicts had begun to fade. As America became more culturally diverse, the Protestant consensus gave way to a Christian consensus, and later a “Judeo-Christian” one. Yet social peace did not arrive. Quite the opposite. A new set of issues emerged out of the sexual revolution and identity politics: not merely abortion, Mr. Hunter says, but everything from “condoms in schools” to “Christopher Columbus, is he a villain or a hero?” These questions didn’t track with traditional left-right economic debates, he continues; nor did they seem to put believers of different denominations in opposition. Instead, the new divide was within religious groups, with orthodox believers within Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism on one side and their progressive wings and secularists on the other. This “new axis” of conflict redefined left and right. It was the basis of Mr. Hunter’s 1991 book, “Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America,” which first brought the term to the forefront of popular discourse... Mr. Buchanan was on to something, Mr. Hunter suggests, when he tied the culture wars to the end of the Cold War: “Identity is formed not only by our affirmations but by our negations. The Soviet Union—communism generally—was an enemy against which we could define ourselves.” When the Berlin Wall fell, “that need for an enemy became internal to the United States.” Perhaps the discrediting of the economic left by the collapse of communism made culture a more salient source of domestic conflict... mass prosperity reduced the urgency of other social problems. In that sense, Mr. Hunter says, America’s culture war is “the kind of conflict that societies can go through when nothing else is at stake.”... outside government, progressives have a clear cultural advantage in major institutions, from universities to movie studios to publishing houses to advertising agencies. Such institutions matter because “culture is not only a system of meaning” but also an “economy”... As elite institutions increasingly repudiated the values of the masses, the culture wars took on what Mr. Hunter calls a “Nietzschean” quality: The stakes began to seem so high that coalitions would “abandon their values and ideals in order to sustain power.” Upper-class culture professes cosmopolitan openness, but “cultures are not, by their very nature, tolerant of much plurality,” he says. “So the Harvard Law School prides itself on its diversity, but it’s a diversity in which basically everyone views the world the exact same way.”... One challenge of the Enlightenment he says, is that “reason gave us the power to doubt and to question everything, including reason itself.” That “throws us back upon our own subjectivity. . . . You have your truth, I have mine.”"

Government agencies being neutral and just following the science untainted by ideological, political or any other biases

A on Singapore's proposed tax/ban on high-sugar drinks: While I can somewhat understand the sugar tax, I don’t think banning is a logical solution, especially since cigarettes themselves aren’t banned. Yes, cigarettes are highly taxed, but instead of high sugar consumption which affects only the individual, smoking affects the people around you too. They should follow through with a cigarette ban if they insist on a sugar ban.

Probably the thing I take the most issue out of this proposal is that banning will take away people’s freedom to choose for themselves. There are better ways to encourage a less-sugar intake such as subsidising healthier drinks, labelling sugary drinks with health warnings and education. Banning should never even be considered.

If they do go through with a ban, I’d argue that we should also ban not just cigarettes, but alcohol as well. Alcohol can affect people around you, if you become drunk and violent. I think if the government feels like we cannot make choices properly and control ourselves, then they should ban all such harmful consumables, and not just sugary drinks. Salt and MSG should probably be considered as well, due to the high levels of hypertension and heart disease we have here.

Me: the harms of secondhand smoke are greatly exaggerated

A: They aren’t. There’s a reason why we have smoke-free zones, and I’d actually much prefer it if the whole country is cigarette-free as well.

A cursory lookup on MOH’s health sites will inform you about the dangers of second-hand smoke, so since this information is by the government, I'm not spreading Fake News: Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Me: It's based on bad science

Secondhand smoke isn’t as bad as we thought.

"Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint."

A: Are you saying MOH's finding is bad science and thus false? That's quite a serious allegation there.

Me: Are you saying MOH is infallible?

A: I'm saying that I trust MOH, an agency with certified doctors and other health professionals and nutritionists, instead of sites with dubious origins.

If you think MOH is spreading Fake News, you are free to report them to the police. I believe we have laws in place for these things. :)

Me: I'm amused that you think slate is a site with dubious origins

Or that the numerous scientific articles they link to, published in peer reviewed journals are dubious

A: I'm similarly amused you think MOH partakes in bad science and publishes false data, and thus is guilty of spreading Fake News. This is a government body, and such allegations are extremely serious.

I guess all the professional expertise in their medical facilities and their research must be wrong then, since some other site disagrees and contradicts MOH's professionally-sourced and scientifically-based findings. :)

Me: You need to learn more about how science works and the interaction between public policy and science.

I'm assuming you also imagine that vaping is more harmful than cigarettes, that Marijuana is harmful and that the death penalty deters crime.

A: You also need to learn more about how to substantiate your points with factual and accurate sources, instead of accusing a government body of spreading lies.

If you think Slate is more accurate as compared to a government agency which employs the scientific method and the rigours of research to formulate their data, then you should seriously re-examine your education.


Nice assumptions, btw. Typical of someone who boasts of online research > hard facts.

Me: Well, clearly you didn't read the article, or put any store in the links to numerous peer reviewed studies even after I pointed them out

Quite amusing that you claim I need to substantiate my points

Your "substantiation" is "gahmen say one, must be correct"

A: Lmao, I didn't say that 'gahment say one, must be correct'. Amusing level of comprehension you have there. I only said that I'd rather trust a professional body which employs rigorous research and hard science to formulate their data, instead of Slate, which likely cherry-picks their opinions to form their opinion piece.

Quite amusing you cannot see this when I quite literally have to spell it out for you. :)

Secondhand smoke isn’t as bad as we thought.
Also headlined as: "We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans"

"In the early 2000s, as jurisdictions across the country fought over expanding smoking bans to bars and restaurants, anti-smoking advocates seized on the Helena study and related research showing that secondhand smoke exposure can affect coronary functions to promote fear of secondhand smoke. Groups across the country stated that “even half an hour of secondhand smoke exposure causes heart damage similar to that of habitual smokers.” Not to be outdone, the Association for Nonsmokers in Minnesota wrote in a press release that just 30 seconds of exposure could “make coronary artery function of non-smokers indistinguishable from smokers.” The message to nonsmokers was clear: The briefest exposure to secondhand smoke can kill you.

A decade later, comprehensive smoking bans have proliferated globally. And now that the evidence has had time to accumulate, it’s also become clear that the extravagant promises made by anti-smoking groups—that implementing bans would bring about extraordinary improvements in cardiac health—never materialized. Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint.

By the time the Helena study was published in the British Medical Journal, the authors had lowered the observed reduction in heart attacks from 60 percent to 40 percent; still an impressive figure but a substantial drop from the claim they had prematurely publicized to press worldwide. Immediate responses to the paper from other scientists were harshly critical, noting the small size of the Helena population—about 68,000 residents at the time—and the medical implausibility of achieving such a massive effect in such a short period. It was impossible to know with certainty whether the drop was caused by the ban or was simply due to chance.

Nonetheless, the Helena paper spawned a wave of studies seeking to replicate the finding. Research observing similar reductions followed in places such as Pueblo, Colorado; Bowling Green, Ohio; and Monroe County, Indiana. One characteristic shared by these places was their low populations and correspondingly small sample sizes: The last of these studies covered only 22 heart attacks among nonsmokers over the course of nearly four years.

When studies sampling larger populations finally appeared, the reported declines in heart attacks began to shrink...

A 2008 study covering the entire country of New Zealand—a population smaller than England’s, but bigger than the American towns previously studied—found no significant effects on heart attacks or unstable angina in the year following implementation of a smoking ban; hospitalizations for the former had actually increased.

Contradictory research continued to come in. A clever study led by researchers at RAND Corp. in 2010 tested the possibility that the large reductions identified in small communities were due to chance. They assembled a massive data set that allowed them to essentially replicate studies like those in Helena, Pueblo, and Bowling Green, but on an unprecedented scale. Whereas those studies had compared just one small community to another, the RAND paper compared all possible pairings of communities affected by smoking bans to all possible controls, for a total of more than 15,000 pairings. They stratified results by age in case there were differential effects on the young, working age adults, or the elderly. And in an improvement on most other studies, they also controlled for existing trends in the rate of heart attacks.

The study found no statistically significant decrease in heart attacks among any age group...

A 2012 study of six American states that had instituted smoking bans came to a similar conclusion. So did a 2014 study, which is notable for being co-authored by some of the same researchers who had previously published papers suggesting that the Colorado towns of Pueblo and Greeley had experienced reduced rates of heart attacks after implementing smoking bans. When Colorado enacted a statewide ban, the authors had an opportunity to see if their earlier results could be duplicated across the larger population of nearly 5 million people. No effect appeared. As an additional test, they re-examined the data excluding 11 jurisdictions that had already implemented comprehensive smoking bans: The statewide ban still showed no effect.

In the paper’s admirably honest commentary, the authors reflected on the reasons that earlier studies, including their own, had overstated the impact of smoking bans. The first is that small sample sizes allowed random variances in data to be mistaken for real effects. The second is that most previous studies failed to account for existing downward trends in the rate of heart attacks. And the third is publication bias: Since no one believes that smoking bans increase heart attacks, few would bother submitting or publishing studies that show a positive correlation or null effect. Thus the published record is likely unintentionally biased toward showing a larger effect than truly exists...

Drawing on data from 28 states from 2001–2008, lead author Vivian Ho, an economist at Rice University, compared rates of hospitalization for heart attacks in areas with and without smoking bans.

Following the methodology of previous studies, she and her coauthors found a statistically significant reduction in hospitalizations for heart attacks and congestive heart failure following implementation of a smoking ban (though only among people older than 65). But when they went a step further, adjusting the analysis with county-by-county health data addressing variables such as access to hospitals and increases in cigarette taxes, the effect of the smoking bans disappeared. Ho and her co-authors suggest that modest improvements in cardiac health that were previously credited to smoking bans may actually be caused by differentials in access to medical care and people smoking less when cigarette taxes increase (smoking cigarettes does have a proven negative effect on cardiac health)...

“No clear link between passive smoking and lung cancer,” read a 2013 headline in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, hardly a pro-tobacco publication. That was a report on a cohort study tracking 76,000 women that failed to detect a link between the disease and secondhand smoke. The finding comports with existing literature suggesting that the effect is borderline and concentrated on long-term, high levels of exposure.

Despite the mounting evidence that transient exposure to secondhand smoke is more an annoyance than a mortal threat, smoking bans have become widespread and politically entrenched. According to the latest update from Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, which publishes quarterly reports on anti-smoking laws, more than 80 percent of the American population now lives under smoking bans covering workplaces, restaurants, or bars. An additional 3,400 jurisdictions ban smoking in outdoor areas such as parks, beaches, and stadiums. More than 400 cities and counties restrict smoking while dining outdoors. More than 1,700 college campuses are completely smoke-free. Nearly 600 jurisdictions include e-cigarettes under their smoke-free laws. Some jurisdictions make limited allowance for places such as cigar bars and hookah lounges, while in others these are completely forbidden or limited to businesses grandfathered in before ordinances took effect.

The cost of these policies falls almost entirely on people who smoke, an increasingly put-upon minority of the population. Rarely are their preferences consulted...

Smokers increasingly find their habit viewed as on a par with use of illicit drugs. Smokers also report that judgments against them cut deeper than their outward behavior, extending to their identity as human beings. “Even if you can’t articulate it you probably intuitively feel it in the same way that if you’re black or a woman and you’re being discriminated against,” one subject told his interviewers. “Like even if you can’t articulate it or you certainly can’t prove it or you’d be at the Human Rights Commission, but you kind of know it’s happening.”

To some anti-smoking advocates, that stigmatization is useful if it encourages people to quit. The authors of this paper are skeptical, noting that such stigmatization could instead lead to feelings of powerlessness...

Early arguments for smoking bans at least paid lip service to the idea that restrictions were necessary to protect unwilling bystanders’ health. But as bans have grown ever more intrusive even as the case for expanding them has withered, that justification has been revealed as a polite fiction by which nonsmokers shunted smokers to the fringes of society. It was never just about saving lives...

As Jonathan Swift said in an apt aphorism, “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it.” Too late to help smokers banished from public life.

There were good reasons from the beginning to doubt that smoking bans could really deliver the promised results, but anti-smoking advocacy groups eagerly embraced alarmism to shape public perception. Today’s tobacco control movement is guided by ideology as much as it is by science, prone to hyping politically convenient studies regardless of their merit and ostracizing detractors.

This has important implications for journalism. As health journalists take on topics such as outdoor smoking bans, discrimination against smokers in employment or adoption, and the ever-evolving regulation of e-cigarettes, they should consider that however well-intentioned the aims of the tobacco control movement are, its willingness to sacrifice the means of good science to the end of restricting behavior calls for skeptical scrutiny...

To cite just a few recent examples: In Washington, the city council has passed legislation restricting e-cigarettes, which emit vapor, and chewing tobacco, which doesn’t emit anything. In England, health advocates argue for restricting outdoor smoking because children should not so much as see someone lighting up. “Smokers themselves are also contaminated… smokers actually emit toxins,” one Harvard researcher mused to Scientific American in 2009, warning against exposure to invisible “thirdhand smoke” wafting off of smokers’ clothing and hair. Writers at Vox have gone so far as to advocate banning smoking even in private homes. The list could go on endlessly. Is it any wonder smokers feel stigmatized?"
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