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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Links - 3rd January 2018 (2)

PETA versus the postdoc: Animal rights group targets young researcher for first time - "It started in May with a web post by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “Tell Yale University to Stop Tormenting Birds!” the headline read, followed by text accusing postdoc Christine Lattin of wasteful experiments and animal abuse in her research on stress in wild house sparrows. Then the emails from PETA supporters began flooding Lattin’s inbox: “You should kill yourself, you sick bitch!” Then the messages on Facebook and Twitter: “What you’re doing is so sick and evil.” “I hope someone throws you into the fire …” By the end of August, PETA—based in Norfolk, Virginia—had organized three protests against Lattin, and she says she was getting 40 to 50 messages a day... PETA, she soon learned, hadn’t just posted about her research on its website; it had filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a Massachusetts district attorney. The group also sent letters to Lattin’s funders and to Yale, urging them to stop supporting her research"

Asian grooming gang's rape of white girls not racist, rules judge - "The judge’s decision meant stiffer penalties for racially aggravated crimes could not be applied in the case of the Newcastle-based sex ring. Judge Penny Moreland said the gang picked out their victims “not because of their race, but because they were young, impressionable, naive and vulnerable”... In a previous case, linked to the gang, one member expressed his contempt for white women when he was challenged by a ticket inspector on the Tyne and Wear Metro. Badrul Hussain, 37, who was convicted of drug offences but cleared of inciting prostitution, told her: “All white women are good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth.”"
Maybe you need to be white to be convicted for racially aggravated crimes

Professor: Use of "identity-based stereotypes" will be punished - "Students enrolled in an Anthropology 101 Lab at the College of the Canyons may be sent to the dean’s office if they purport “identity-based stereotypes.” According to the Physical Anthropology Lab syllabus, stereotyping someone “based on race, gender, ability, nationality, sexuality, or any other identity” is “considered an interruption and will a) be barred from participating in class, b) lose all participation points for the day, and c) referred to the Dean of Students.” The two page syllabus, handed out to students on the first day of class, was accompanied with a White Privilege Checklist... The course professor, Amanda Zunner-Keating, clearly doesn’t see the irony in punishing students who reference stereotypes while simultaneously stereotyping every white individual through the white privilege checklist. However, this doesn’t matter to Keating. She allegedly told students that she uses a Freirean teaching approach and that “we are all engaged in an oppressive power structure.” She followed this up with a quote from Paulo Freire: “The educator has the duty of not being neutral. Contrary to the social justice themes espoused by Keating, the course objectives are to “analyze behavioral and observational data with the Scientific Method to understand human and non-human primate biology and evolution” and well as to “demonstrate and apply knowledge of skeletal anatomy to primate, hominem, and modern human evolution.”"
College of the Canyons is a community college, not an elite one

Former Muslim, Anti-FGM Campaigner Shazia Hobbs Suspended from Twitter - "A Muslim apostate and high profile campaigner against both female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage has been suspended from micro-blogging platform Twitter, amidst a wider crackdown on right wing voices on the website, and other online platforms like Facebook... “It’s absolutely disgusting,” she told the website. “There was no reason given. Twitter would not tell me what tweets were in violation of their rules. They said it was because of ‘harassment’. “All I tweet about is the rape of Pakistani children by Pakistani men,” she said... she is frequently called “racist” and accused of being “full of hate” for calling for the jailing of parents who subject their daughters to genital mutilation. “I get the biggest amount of hate from Pakistani men and ‘feminazis’ who tell me I’m ‘fueling the far right’. “I’m trying to put a stop to these harmful practices. I’ve had more love and acceptance from the so-called ‘far right’ than from the Pakistani community”"
Feminists seem to be for female genital cutting in certain circumstances

A Botched Black Bag Job Reveals the Long Arm of Chinese Intelligence - "even if your company is not operating in China and your executives are not traveling there, that does not mean you are safe from the long arm of Chinese espionage if it is interested in your intellectual property and aims to steal it. Beijing's cyber espionage program clearly has global reach from its bases in China. Second, the Chinese government has a robust network of people working for its intelligence services, academic institutions and think tanks who can try to infiltrate companies by posing as students, researchers, potential clients, suppliers, cleaning contractors and security guards. This highlights the need for good access controls to corporate offices, as well as the need for employees to be aware of people attempting to "wagon train" in the door behind them — most likely how Liu got into the secure area.
Finally, the Chinese government has a sophisticated human intelligence program that is quite capable of recruiting company employees using cash, sex or other approaches. This capability is useful against not only government targets, but also commercial targets that have information or technology the Chinese government deems critical to the country's military and economic goals."

Thirty Years After the Immigration Reform and Control Act - "Then came the IRCA, “accepted as a once-only great compromise,” wrote the Pulitzer-Prize winning scholar Jack Miles for the June 1994 issue of The Atlantic:
The mass legalization of then-illegal immigrants was traded for the promise that a new program of employer sanctions would destroy the incentive for further mass immigration. That hope proved vain; but if it had never been entertained, IRCA would never have passed.
That hope proved vain because, as Schlosser put it, “these sanctions have rarely been applied”...
Instead of stemming illegal immigration, IRCA has actually encouraged it
People respond to incentives (like DACA)

The Southern Poverty Law Center Has $69 Million Parked Overseas - "The Southern Poverty Law Center invests almost 20 percent of its nearly $320 million endowment fund in offshore equities and other investments. The 2016 annual report of the Alabama-based civil rights organization reports $69,093,576 of "non-U.S. equity funds" among the assets comprising the total endowment fund of $319,283,961, a fund the SPLC describes as a "plan for the day when nonprofits like the SPLC can no longer afford to solicit support through the mail because of rising postage and printing costs." (Given that 2016 contributions topped $45 million, that day has not yet arrived.)... The Beacon quoted two financial industry executives who expressed surprise and incredulity about the SPLC's offshore investing."
Social justice is profitable

Are Americans becoming more conservative or liberal (right or left)? - "With Trump and the re-appearance of white nationalism in the public spotlight, many people are wondering if conservative (right-wing) ideology is on the rise. One can find many influential outlets endorsing this notion. CBS, BBC, Vox, and certainly others have all run articles suggesting this... If there is one substantial ideological shift in American public opinion in the post-war period, it is the dramatic and near-universal increase in social liberalism since the 1950s... There is currently no good evidence I am aware of that overt racism or white nationalism is growing. It likely appears larger than it is, especially to progressives, precisely because it has never been less common in American history."

Migrating to Britain | Podcast | History Extra - "People left and they left, even if they imagined they would be going home in a few years, they really left behind a past. And what they had to do was recreate the past in a meaningful way, bring the past with them and partly that might be through a nostalgic recreation of what their past had been like. Certainly right across all all the communities that I looked at you can find nostalgic constructions and particularly parents telling their children how wonderful home was. And that's part of the joy of Madoram's [sp] poem you know because they bring up their kids with this idea of the Punjab as heaven and when the kids actually get there they are completely horrified"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, What happens to the UK courts post-Brexit? - "The Germans had a state monopoly on alcohol and to protect that they adopted quite a few measures, some of which might appear a bit bizarre...
'Any cassis sold there had to have an alcohol content of at least twenty five percent.'
'The French product didn't meet that requirement. It was between fifteen and twenty percent alcohol so the product could not be sold in Germany unless of course you added extra alcohol'
'So French cassis could be kept off German shelves'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Alexandra Shulman on body image and fashion's future - "Sixty years ago young people looked the same as old people and it was really about the end of the fifties when the whole idea of the kind of teenager took place and the young adolescent. And that meant that they actually wanted to have their own style of dress. And they didn't want to look like their parents and their parents didn't want particularly to look like them so that's where a kind of youth culture and street culture style grew up...
Nobody wore jeans as anything other than utility wear... you probably wouldn't have worn jeans in even if you were sort of forty years old in nineteen sixty but by the time the eighties came round everybody's wearing jeans...
If you look at some of the sort of heroines of our time, style icons as they say. People like Rihanna, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, they're not that skinny... [they're] famous for their look so skinny is not necessarily what people want to be now... you don't see that shape on the catwalk but that's something else. That's not to do with the way that most people want to look and dress. That's to do with the way that fashion designers want their clothes to be seen...
Women do not have to wear high heels. In fact if you look at fashion now it's all about flats and people who wear high heels wear them like me because they want to... wearing a heel gives you a whole different feeling about your body. Not only does it add a bit of height but it changes your posture, it actually in my case gives me a feeling of being a bit more in control rather than kind of slopping around in something like a pair of slippers"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Terror in Barcelona: How can cities defend themselves? - "When Elvis Presley died and I do remember this he wasn't that hot anymore. Tragically dead Elvis proved to be a bigger deal for ten fifteen years than live Elvis had been you know. And it kind of sated the public appetite"

Herbed Duck Confit & Sweet Potatoes Entrée - Addiction Pet Foods - We go to the Ends of the Earth for your Pet - "Our scrumptious Herbed Duck Confit is full of deliciously tender duck, sweet potato, herbs and vitamins – a surefire way of keeping your dog happy.
Dogs adore our Herbed Duck Confit, a luxury grain-free dish that makes a great alternative to beef, chicken and lamb. We’ve paired the duck with sweet potatoes, which are high in beneficial fiber and essential vitamins to promote vitality and healthy digestion.
We’ve also added fragrant thyme and rosemary to the dish, which is carefully formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages."
Sounds better than human food

Creature Comforts | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "Before enduring World War II Deep Sea Fishing was a main source of income for a large population of Japanese fishermen and the people who lived in Hawaii. But there was a federal statute that was passed in nineteen forties that prohibited boat owners who were American citizens from obtaining fishing licenses. There was a suspicion that Japanese fishermen were passing information to Japan about the sea conditions around the strategically important Hawaii. So we had these new fishing restrictions that cut off a main source of protein to Hawaii. Luckily, spam came about and Hormel Foods provided during World War II about fifteen million cans of spam to our troops. There was a large US military presence on the island of Hawaii at this time and therefore that meant that the Hawaiians had access to spam. Ever since spam become an absolutely explosive food on the island. Hawaiians consume on average about eight million cans of spam and is now considered by its nickname Hawaiian steak... wonderful thing about spam is that it's baked in its own can... it makes it shelf stable and that's why it's so fundamentally fantastic to be able to you know feed so many people over such a long period of time...
We fight the last battle and what we're really fighting over now is a surge of immigration that happened in the 80s and 90s but the issue isn't a new surge, it's what we do about the people who came then...
We just put them in these really bad moods and then we either gave them their own particular comfort food or we gave them a food that they liked but that wasn't their comfort food and to our surprise it didn't matter which we gave them. Whatever we gave them their mood improved... even with no food at all"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Peace, Justice and Morality - "[On Northern Ireland's troubles] If you find out who killed your mother what would you do with that knowledge?'
'I wouldn't do anything with it then. Certainly would not bring it to the authorities. There's absolutely nothing to be gained by bringing probably a man or a woman in their sixties to court now to serve a present sentence for an event over thirty three years ago, probably carried out when they were very very young, very very impressionable, and a product of a society that was poison personified...
What's interesting about the Rwandan cases is that all levels of society were prosecuted. It wasn't only elites. In fact four hundred thousand everyday citizens were also prosecuted but of course they were also genocide perpetrators. What is lacking in the Rwandan case is any kind of acknowledgment of the role of the group that we often think of is the victims the Tutsi"

Critic's Notebook: Hillary Clinton Dishes, Doles Out Blame on 'CBS Sunday Morning' - "Ten months after her historic election defeat, Clinton is clearly ready to cash in. And the interview proved that when it comes to the five stages of grief, she hasn’t gotten past anger. Although she apparently did go through a period of depression... “I’m done with being a candidate. But I’m not done with politics, because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.” But first, there’s a book tour to conduct. And lots of money to be made, with “VIP” tickets going for thousands of dollars. Yes, with the Clintons, some things just never change."
So much for being a good loser

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Double disaster hits Houston and South Asia - "You've now got very large numbers of Rohingyas living in exile across the world, millions of them now. More Rohingyas live outside Myanmar than inside it. Quite a lot of them went to Saudi Arabia. About two hundred thousand we think there. Some of those have become radicalized...
In nineteen fifty six MGM said it wanted to make a film that truly represented India. Bhowani Junction was a particular favorite of my Sri Lankan father in law. It featured one of his two favorite actresses, Ava Gardner. It didn't bother him that a half Indian heroine was being played by the all American Ava Gardner...
Gandhi. When that film was made its director Richard Attenborough sought advice from India's first Prime Minister, Nehru. His words were, according to Attenborough, simple. All that matters is that he should be very good. Nevertheless when it emerged that the Mahatma was going to be played by a British actor Ben Kingsley there were many who felt he couldn't possibly represent such an important figure in Indian history. One journalist told Richard Attenborough no human could"

Politickling | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "The most efficient way to campaign in Vermont is to go to the garbage dump because there's no municipal garbage removal service so everybody has to show up at the garbage dump. And when they're throwing their trash in the dumpster you're shaking their hand and your signature or whatever...
The War Department as part of its preparations for the ground invasion of Japan ordered five hundred thousand Purple Hearts. They had learned from D Day and the wider Pacific theater that the casualties would be high and that the war would probably go on for two more years. When Japan surrendered after the atomic bombings the ground invasion was canceled and all of these purple hearts ended up in a warehouse. The surplus metals have survived through the Korean war, the Vietnam war, two wars in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and all the minor conflicts in between. And there are still estimated seventy to eighty five thousand still out there that haven't been awarded. And the medals have been sitting around for so long that in the 80s and 90s they actually had to go back and, and redo the ribbons and clean them up and prepare them to be awarded...
'Firefighters you found in your research is a group that is, you're saying the reputation and the reality are very different in the compassion and love department?'...
'The thing that's so surprising is how often they tell me about how much love they have for their colleagues and it's affection and caring and compassion and fondness. So much so that it's really quite different than the tough, heroic kind of masculine image they give off which is also part of the profession but when you investigate a little bit you find out that this is one of the most loving, compassionate professions. But actually in my effort to get as many puns in my publications as possible I ask the question: is love all you need? And the answer is no actually so when we're looking at how they perform it turns out you need a different emotion. You need joviality which is humor and pranks and amusement and excitement and that turns out to be a much better predictor of how quickly they get to your house when you call 911, how they work as a team... They really do talk about as part of their hiring so when I ask them well what kind of person would fit in? No stiffs. So that's the most important criteria'...
There is a Federal Government contract with the University of Mississippi where there is a farm where they grow a lot of weed and any researcher in the United States despite the fact that about two hundred million Americans live in states that have access to medical marijuana and again research is being done everywhere, that's the only place they can go to get it... It's easier for a medical researcher to get LSD in the United States or heroin than it is for that researcher to get marijuana...
President James Garfield - after he was elected but before he was inaugurated, he spoke to the graduating class of Harvard. And in his speech he told them to not work so hard and to set aside time for reading. Because he was such an avid reader that he actually had a custom built chair that had one high arm and one low arm so he could throw his legs over and read in a more comfortable way"
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