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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Links - 4th January 2018 (1)

The Malaysian government has blocked Steam itself to stop sales of Fight of Gods - "In a story of Biblical proportions, the Malaysian government has blocked citizens from accessing Steam, in order to stop people playing Fight of Gods. This comes after the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission called for the ban and removal of the heavenly fighter from Steam."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of Empathy - "Empathy is a commendable human emotion but whilst it can come naturally I think reason and the courage to do what's right even when it seems cruel or hard are perhaps in the end more essential human capabilities...
If parents in areas of conflict believe that unaccompanied children are more likely to get through than being accompanied they will send their children on their own...
There's a common perception that empathy is much like Ebenezer Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning and suddenly realizing that all of these strangers with whom he's before had absolutely no, common community of emotion have feelings and thoughts but what the clinical, sorry the social psychology experiments tend to show is that empathy actually already confirms and prejudices we already have. So you will tend to be more likely to empathize with people who are either like you or share the same beliefs that you do...
'Can you really give me a purely rational argument for being good?'
'Sure. Reciprocity. Or sympathy, or custom... I think you're tending to see good as a matter of motivation whereas I take a more functional view of goodness"

Viking Britain | Podcast | History Extra - "People often shocked to discover we have first hand accounts of Viking men who wore eyeliner. That they invested heavily in their clothing, now big baggy silk trousers sort of MC Hammer pants. You know these sorts of images that are unfamiliar, putting it, put into a viking context. You know evident care that people took over their, their personal grooming. Combs and tweezers are things that are found in Viking graves - male and female in abundance... over engineered objects - you don't need to build a comb out of hundreds of different bits but they did and decorated them very finely"

SGSecure app not compulsory for NSFs: Defence Minister
It's not compulsory. But if you don't download it you can't bookout.

The grooming of girls in Newcastle is not an issue of race – it’s about misogyny | Chi Onwurah - "What’s worse, rape or racism?... The idea that Muslim immigrants and their families have brought sexual abuse and violence against women to our shores is an insult to them, as well as to the generations of women and sexual abuse victims who have lived among us for centuries and whose suffering had no name or voice... So which is worse, rape or racism? The answer, of course, is to reject any such choice... Chi Onwurah is Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central"
@EllaJustBecause: "Please speak to victims before you write this stuff. I was called a "White slag" "White cunt" as they beat me and raped me over 100 times."
@Georgia06420675: "As a victim i find this extremely offensive because it WAS about race and religion. White working class girls, Pakistani Muslim men. Simple... also, if this isn't racial, why was I called "a little white slut"/"white cunt"? oh I forgot, you cant be racist to white people... let's put it this way: if white men around UK were grooming Pakistani girls, calling them "Pakistani sluts" would we deny the racial element in that abuse? would we say it was simply "misogynistic"? or would other issues be at play too\?"


Rotherham researcher 'sent on diversity course' after raising alarm - "A researcher who raised the alarm over the sexual abuse of teenage girls in Rotherham more than a decade ago was sent on a 'ethnicity and diversity course' by child protection bosses who refused to act on her evidence. The researcher, who was seconded to Rotherham council by the Home Office, was told she must "never, ever" again refer to the fact that the abusers were predominantly Asian men. Speaking to the BBC's Panorama programme under the condition of anonymity, the researcher said that she identified more 270 victims of trafficking and underage prostitution by mainly Muslim gangs in Rotherham. But, despite being sent to Rotherham Council, the report - based on interviews with underage girls seeking help from the council's anti-child prositution project, called Risky Business - was never published. Indeed, the council tried unsuccessfully to sack the researcher after she resisted pressure to change her findings. Data to back up the report's findings also went missing from the Risky Business office the weekend after she submitted her report, the researcher told the programme... One of the girls who was allegedly abused, whose name was changed to Isabel to protect her identity, said that her abuser told her he would "play the race card" if the police tried to take action"
Keywords: Diversity training

Plan to let students grade themselves gets an F - "A proposal to allow University of Georgia students to choose their own grades has failed after the school axed the idea... an archived syllabus outlines a "stress reduction" policy that offers students the option to choose their own grades. "If you feel unduly stressed by a grade for any assessable material or the overall course, you can email the instructor indicating what grade you think is appropriate and it will be so changed," the policy reads... Watson also wrote that students should leave "immediately" if they are stressed out by group work. "If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group's dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to group members"... Watson acknowledged his policies might "hinder the development of group skills and mastery of the class material," but wrote that he would "provide every opportunity" for students who wanted to gain a better understanding of the course material.""
I thought snowflakes were only found in the arts, not in business school

PE2017: Mad at the G - "If anyone had openly pointed out that there has been no Malay president since Yusof Ishak and we should make arrangements for one, he or she would have been shouted down for being a chauvinist. He or she would have been told to stand behind our meritocratic ideals, rather than ask for affirmative action... I am mad because it’s farcical the way the Workers’ Party (WP) wasn’t able to get its adjournment motion discussed in Parliament because two People’s Action Party Members of Parliament (MP) suddenly had their own motions to table after the WP had made public its agenda. I’ve checked. There’s only been nine or 10 such motions since the 13th Parliament sat. Suddenly, we have three motions tabled in a spate of three days. What has happened to the G’s conviction about the rightness of its views? It could have shouted down the WP MPs, but somehow it seemed to want the elections out of the way quickly... Racial questions are popping up, because people are being brought slap up against the knotty problem of who belongs to what ethnic group. Yet the G cannot tamp this down because it had opened the can of worms in the first place. Now, the discussion is described as “mature’’ when, in other instances, it would have been slapped down as being inimical to social order."

Dr Tan Cheng Bock - Posts - "in 1993, the Government’s preferred candidate was Ong Teng Cheong. Everyone knew he would win. But Dr Goh Keng Swee still went out of his way to persuade Mr Chua Kim Yeow to stand for elections. Why? To prevent a walkover and give citizens the dignity of expressing their choice... People now feel muzzled and angry. Because when you take away our right to vote, you take away our political voice. You tell us that our choice does not matter. PE 2017 has been a quiet affair. But there is now a deafening silence awakening the nation. We did not get a chance to speak with our vote this round, but the time will come. And when it does, it will be thunderous. Of this I am sure."

PE2017: Four "interesting" issues raised at the IPS conference - "1. Is a Malay who converted to Christianity still a Malay?... the decision made by the Community Committee can’t be challenged, noted law academic Kevin Tan. Its decision is final and can’t even be contested in the courts. He wondered if this was constitutional. Dr Norshahril Saat of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute noted that the Community Committees are made up of prominent individuals – an “elite-driven mechanism”. They might not share the sentiments of Malays at the grassroots who seem primarily concerned with the aspirants’ language ability, religious outlook, and contributions to the community.
2. Electoral contest or walkover : Which is better?... This question came from former senior minister of state Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who said that the reserved election had opened “a can of worms’’, causing division among Malays, as well as non-Malays... Minister Chan made an interesting point: He wouldn’t like to see criteria relaxed simply to ensure a contest. “I can understand Singaporeans’ aspirations to have a contest and more people contesting. But I don’t think Singaporeans would like to have different rules for different races,” he said. Make what you will of that."

Priscilla Clapp on Burma’s ethnic minorities - "most of the Rohingya do not speak Burmese, but rather a form of Bengali language, and many who are not educated have not assimilated into the population there. Therefore, they are looked on as foreigners even though these families have lived in the country long enough to qualify for citizenship. We would probably have the same issue here in the U.S. if we had a large immigrant population that never attempted to assimilate. Thus, rightly or wrongly, the Rohingya are viewed by the majority of Burmese as foreigners or recent immigrants. Those who have been there for more than a generation qualify for citizenship but not with the ethnic identity of “Rohingya.” The government’s requirement that they must identify as “Bengali” has wide popular support in the country. The Rohingya’s demand for recognition of their ethnic identity as a prior condition for achieving citizenship appears to have developed more recently and there is evidence that many of the Rohingya living in Rakhine state are not really the ones vocalizing this concern. Many living in Rakhine have been willing to forego the Rohingya identification for the sake of receiving naturalized citizenship. There is a large Rohingya diaspora around the world that generally speaks for them in the international community. So what you hear on behalf of the Rohingya is often coming from the diaspora and not directly from the Rohingya people living in Rakhine, which makes it difficult to identify the starting point for solutions to this problem... I object to the use of extreme words like "genocide," "holocaust," "crimes against humanity," and "ethnic cleansing" because that is not what this is. It is not Yugoslavia... A lot of work has to be done with the Rakhine themselves because they do not have a voice outside the country, so they feel they are being overpowered by the Rohingya diaspora that controls the international debate. Nobody speaks out for the Rakhine... The armed ethnic minority organizations are particularly militant about ethnic identity and they want their identity on these documents. People in the international community who tend to view the issue only through the lens of the Rohingya problem are often unaware of the complexities on the ground that the government is dealing with."

Former State Dept Diplomat on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar: 'I Don't Accept the Narrative' - "There was indeed a terrorist attack in Rakhine. It came from outside, it was perpetrated by people in the Rohingya diaspora living in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia coming in through Bangladesh. And they have killed a lot of security forces. This started in October and the latest attack was timed to follow the recommendations, the presentation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan international commission on Rakhine, which Aung Sun Suu Kyi has accepted and agreed to implement. These recommendations call for a long-term solution there. She was already working on it when it was disrupted by this latest terrorist attack. Their tactics are terrorism. There’s no question about it. [Kyi is] not calling the entire Rohingya population terrorists, she is referring to a group of people who are going around with guns, machetes, and IEDs and killing their own people in addition to Buddhists, Hindus, and others that get in their way. They have killed a lot of security forces, and they are wreaking havoc in the region. The people who are running and fleeing out to Bangladesh are not only fleeing the response of the security forces, they are fleeing their own radical groups because they’ve been attacking Rohingya, and in particular the leadership who were trying to work with the government on the citizenship process and other humanitarian efforts that were underway there... There are numerous reports that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have provided weapons and other assistance to ARSA"

15 Years After Land-Grabs, Mugabe Invites White Farmers Back To Zimbabwe - "And so once again we see that necessity (a food shortage) breeds invention (rethinking populist land grabs), but lest anyone should believe that Mugabe has done a complete 180, we'll close with the following advice given to supporters at a recent Patriotic Front rally:
"Don't be too kind to white farmers. They can own industries and companies, or stay in apartments in our towns but they cannot own land. They must leave the land to blacks.""

British conductor sacked by US music festival after 'innocent' joke with his African-American friend was labelled racist - "Matthew Halls was removed as artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival following an incident in which he imitated a southern American accent while talking to his longstanding friend, the African-American classical singer Reginald Mobley... The singer, who was born and raised in the southern state of Florida, said the concert had an “antebellum” feel to it, of the sort associated with Gone With the Wind and other rose-tinted representations of the pre-Civil War south. In response Mobley says that Halls “apologised on behalf of England”, before putting on an exaggerated southern accent and joking: “Do you want some grits?”, in a reference to the ground corn dish popular in the south. “I’m from the deep south and Matthew often makes fun of the southern accent just as I often make fun of his British accent,” said Mobley. “Race was not an issue. He was imitating a southern accent, not putting on a black accent, and there was nothing racist or malicious about it.” But the singer suspects that a white woman who overheard their conversation and spoke to him moments later went on to report it to the university, alleging Halls had made a racist joke. An internal inquiry into the incident is understood to have been held as a result of the complaint. However, Mobley was not invited to give evidence and he says there is a deep irony in the fact the authorities appear to have assumed on his behalf that he would have objected to the joke. “I’m the subject of a falsified story, without having the chance to have my say,” he said. “My voice has been taken away in a conversation about race that involved me, and technically that’s racist.” Pressure on the festival organisers to reinstate Halls is growing, with from others musicians coming to his support. “A lot of our allies have become so eager to help the race and fix the scars they almost go too far,” said Mobley. “They think they are at the point where they understand racism more than those who have really encountered it in their lives and they make assumptions on our behalf about how we might feel, as if we don’t understand when something said to us or done to use is racist. “It’s well meaning, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions. “It also demeans and cheapens the very serious work done by civil rights activists and abolitionists to have the difficult nuances of racism and microaggressions taken seriously.”"
Maybe Mobley didn't understand how he was being victimised by racism through dog whistling!

A Policy of Censorship More Extreme Than Google - "this problem is not unique to Google but is widespread in both industry and academia... He begins by invoking the history of racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry, going on to assert that diversity efforts are an effective remedy, but providing no evidence to back up this bold claim. In fact, it is highly questionable that this is true, especially in light of a recent cover story in The New York Times reporting that the underrepresentation of African-Americans and Hispanics at colleges and universities has gotten worse, not better, over the last 35 years while affirmative action has been in effect. Horowitz goes on to claim that viewing diversity efforts as acts of discrimination is a “false equivalence” and that the memo is therefore “not part of a healthy dialogue at all.” By doing so, he alienates the majority of the American people and makes it clear that their opinions are unwelcome at MongoDB. According to a Gallup poll taken last year, 63% of Americans believe that race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions, while 66% believe that gender should not be a factor... The notion that policies put in place to promote diversity or remedy historical injustices can themselves be acts of discrimination has also been the holding of the United States Supreme Court in numerous cases... Horowitz continues by characterizing Damore’s memo as “just another attempt to disguise prejudice in the clothing of rationalism.” “History is littered with them,” he claims, although he provides not a single example. This characterization seems highly questionable, since many of the most oppressive institutions that have existed through history operated by forcing people to suppress their rationality and accept the word of authority figures without questioning. From the Inquisition to the regimes of Hitler and Stalin, those who thought for themselves were to be quashed, often with brutal violence... he is suggesting that the idea that companies should treat their employees equally without regard to their gender is so horrific that to merely speak it is threatening to women. His use of the words “hostile environment” is almost certainly an allusion to sexual harassment law. That he would interpret this law so broadly as to consider the expression of political views or scientific hypotheses to rise to the level of sexual harassment is deeply troubling. The First Amendment comes into play here, as these are no longer solely the actions of a private corporation but rather are done in the name of complying with the law. Just as troubling is Horowitz’s contention that it is unacceptable not just to agree with the parts of the memo that he found offensive but rather to agree with anything that Damore said—granting that he had “some good points” is hostile. In doing this, Horowitz displays the worst tendencies of the far-left. When confronted with ideas with which they disagree and that they find offensive, they seek not to understand or even to persuade, only to demonize and dehumanize. Since Damore deviated from the politically correct dogma on diversity, we must not only criticize the points on which we see him as being wrong but unequivocally condemn every word of his memo. There is no room for nuance, no room for subtlety. Feelings supersede facts. The emotions of the most fragile must be soothed at any cost, even if the truth is a casualty... It seems that MongoDB has failed to live out another of its stated core values, Be Intellectually Honest."

Fired Googler Damore: 'Underground Conservative Network' In Silicon Valley - "conservatives and other dissidents across Silicon Valley are surreptitiously documenting leftist practices — some seemingly violative of federal non-discrimination laws — for unspecified purposes, added Damore, and assorted leftists — some operating independently and others at the direction of large technology companies — are allegedly seeking to infiltrate the aforementioned “underground conservative network” to expose its participants."
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