"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Links - 18th April 2018 (1)

Wednesday polling day is 'troublesome': Mahathir - "Dr Mahathir said during his tenure as prime minister, polling days fixed on weekdays usually coincided with holidays... He said the recent redelineation exercise also posed problems for the Opposition and he expects more “funny things” in store."

Let’s talk about Donald Trump vs. the ‘deep state’ - The Washington Post - "it is worth pointing out a very disturbing dynamic emerging within the executive branch. The national security bureaucracy is clearly stacking the deck in an attempt to constrain the president’s choices, and the president is pushing back in a manner that is almost as reckless."

Two White Men Under Fire For Opening Ramen Restaurant With Extremely Racist Name - "Two South African men are finding themselves in an uncomfortable spotlight now that the name of their new restaurant has been made public. The men, who are both white, are opening an Asian eatery in the city of Melville, a suburb of Johannesburg. The pair have opted to name the establishment "Misohawni.""
If you're offended by gay marriage, don't get a gay marriage. If you're offended by a restaurant's name, flame the restaurant until they change it

Amagasaki rail crash - Wikipedia - "Investigators speculate that Takami may have been attempting to make up this lost time by increasing the train's speed beyond customary limits. Many reports from surviving passengers indicate that the train was travelling faster than normal. Plus, the driver might have been stressed because he would be punished both for having passed by a red light and for having overshot the platform at Itami Station. Ten months before the crash, Takami had been reprimanded for overshooting a station platform by 100 meters. In the minutes leading up to the derailment, he might have been thinking of the punishment he would face, and not totally focused on driving... cumulative changes over the previous three years had reduced the leeway in the train's schedule from 71 to 28 seconds over the 15 minutes between Takarazuka and Amagasaki stations. Drivers face financial penalties for lateness as well as being forced into harsh and humiliating retraining programs known as nikkin kyōiku (日勤教育, "dayshift education"), which include weeding and grass-cutting duties during the day. The final report officially concluded that the retraining system was one probable cause of incident. This program consisted of violent verbal abuse, forcing the employees to repent by writing extensive reports. Also, during these times, drivers were forced to perform minor tasks, particularly involving cleaning, instead of their normal jobs. Many saw the process of nikkin kyoiku as a punishment and psychological torture, and not as driver retraining. The driver had also received a non-essential phone call from the general control station at the time he was rounding the bend"

Fix your company culture before it becomes a full-blown crisis - "SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek, an army general who took the helm in 2012 after the company experienced massive disruptions the year before, attributes the problems to “deep-seated cultural issues.” But you don’t need half a decade to fix a company’s culture, if you identify problems early enough. Consider Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, who engineered a successful change in the software giant’s culture within three years. Microsoft has about 10 times the number of employees of SMRT."

Crime Wave Engulfs Sweden as Fraud, Sexual Offenses Reach Record - "A survey by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention showed that 15.6 percent of people suffered one or more offences against the person (defined in the survey as assault, threats, sexual offences, robbery, fraud or harassment) last year. That’s up from 13.3 percent in 2015 and the highest number recorded since the annual Swedish Crime Survey started in 2006... Of the six types of offences against the person, five of six rose to their highest level on record last year. The number of assault cases reached its second-highest level."

Left-wing men are the 'actual worst' sexists, says Labour MP Jess Phillips - "Jess Phillips, the Labour MP, has claimed left-wing men are the “actual worst” sexists... When asked if the “out and out sexists of the right” were worse than the “well-meaning” of the left she claimed: “They [the left-wing men] are the worst, the actual worst."

Labor MPs to ignore huge 'no' votes in their multicultural electorates - "Labor MPs across western Sydney – and in two Melbourne seats – will defy the will of their electorates and vote "yes" to legalise same-sex marriage in Parliament. More than any other area in Australia, the people of western Sydney voted "no". Here, where up to three quarters of the population in the electorates of Blaxland and Watson voted against same sex marriage, the cultural clash of marriage equality and the conservative values of immigrant cultures told the story of the polls"
Democracy means ignoring the unwashed masses

Same Sex Marriage — The White Pride result no-one dares talk about - "Some may argue it’s about religion. But the heavily religious Hills and Northern Beaches, and the Sutherland Shire, still recorded strong yes votes... Why has Ireland, with an 85% Catholic population, and only 10% irreligious population, far below Australia’s figure of 30% irreligious, produced a stronger result for same-sex marriage than Australia?... The conservatives and nationalists have talked about maintaining our culture and values, but the foreign invaders, blamed for the decay of our culture, have been the ones who have most strongly voted to preserve it. But perhaps the left is in an even more uncomfortable position. The haters and the bigots, as it turns out, are the minorities they’re apparently seeking to defend. We’ve heard from the left that people who oppose SSM are unenlightened dinosaurs with no place in today’s society, well who have they called unenlightened dinosaurs? Muslims, Asians, and pretty much every non-white group in Australia who clearly voted no in greater numbers."

It's time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities are putting hundreds of children at risk - "leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, warned that ‘inbreeding’ in Islamic communities was threatening the health of generations of children... ‘It is not fair to the children or to the NHS which has to treat them. If you go into a paediatric ward in Bradford or Keighley, you will find more than half the kids are from the Asian community,’ she said... British Pakistanis, half of whom marry a first cousin (a figure that is universally agreed), are 13 times more likely to produce children with genetic disorders than the general population... Many NHS doctors, while admitting privately there is a crisis, refuse to speak out for fear of being branded ‘racist’... I was told by charity workers, doctors and counsellors working with families in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands that many parents also believe it is an ‘act of God’ or the ‘will of Allah’ that their children are born disabled... ‘I cannot understand why cousin marriages are not forbidden in Islam. The Koran doesn’t forbid it and this encourages people around me to disbelieve what the doctors say."

UK Pakistani views on the adverse health risks associated with consanguineous marriages - "Emerging themes included a limited knowledge, opposition to evidence and need for a more culturally sensitive health services approach. Findings from the focus group and interview discussions indicated that participants had a limited and varied understanding of genetic risk and indicated a lack of discussion within the community regarding genetic risk. They also opposed evidence that may link consanguineous marriages with infant mortality, stillbirth or genetic disorders that led to disability"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Rowan Williams on the rise of Protestantism - "Because Luther and other reformers of that age felt they couldn't depend on the Pope to push forward reforms in the Church they had find some other leverage. The most obvious one was local rulers so another of the slightly unintended consequences of the Reformation was to push up the status of local and national rulers. In other words to give nationalism a bit of a push"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How do we define sexual harassment? - "How do you codify this? How, are you say that there must not be no reference to sex, no sex at all. That you mustn't say to a woman or even to a man - you look lovely today or you look very handsome today which is part of socializing, which is civilized. which makes people feel good. You cannot codify this. As I said it goes back to a question of good manners. Michael Fallon is a thoroughly unpleasant man and he's unpleasant to men as well as women, period...
'Many of the women who are coming out and saying you know get a thicker skin, deal with it are women who are privileged, in positions of privilege to be able to say that. There are lots of young women in Westminster'
'But I was a young woman'
'I'm talking about right now. Who are, who don't feel like that'...
'We are being told what we must feel, that we must feel traumatised by a... rather sad little text message that Mr Hopkins sent, or a rather ridiculous and unfunny remark that Mr Fallon made. For a woman who wants to become Prime Minister'...
'Women's voices are being drowned out'
'They're not being drowned out at all, what about the #metoo fashion show?'...
'Last time I came in here was to talk about the pay gap. I had to first have a whole conversation about whether it exists or not'...
'If you start talking about it being all about manners then you, you belittle the serious stuff'
'No no, you're belittling the serious stuff because you're equating a silly text message or a grope with rape and that belittles rape'
'It's all on the same spectrum'
Grievance politics means only women who feel victimised have a voice, and women who don't are silenced, and we cater to the lowest common denominator. And that women are strong enough to make it in politics but so weak that they get triggered by SMSes and throwaway remarks

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Living in the shadow of North Korea - "Not everyone here opposes Trump. We have talked to the general who was a deputy Chief of Staff in South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. He thinks the good cop bad cop double act between Trump and Rex Tillerson his Secretary of State could work...
'Do you personally think there is going to be a war?'

How the barcode changed retailing and manufacturing - "the barcode was changing the tilt of the playing field in favour of a certain kind of retailer. For a small, family-run convenience store, the barcode scanner was an expensive solution to problems they did not really have. But big supermarkets could spread the cost of the scanners across many more sales. They valued shorter lines at the checkout. They needed to keep track of inventory. With a manual checkout, a shop assistant might charge a customer for a product, then slip the cash into a pocket without registering the sale. With a barcode and scanner system, such behaviour would become conspicuous. And in the 1970s, a time of high inflation in America, barcodes let supermarkets change the price of products by sticking a new price tag on the shelf rather than on each item."

Money via mobile: The M-Pesa revolution - "When 53 police officers in Afghanistan checked their phones in 2009, they felt sure there had been some mistake. They knew they were part of a pilot project to see if public sector salaries could be paid via a new mobile money service called M-Paisa. But had they somehow overlooked the detail that their participation brought a pay rise? Or had someone mistyped the amount to send them? The message said their salary was significantly larger than usual. In fact, the amount was what they should have been getting all along. But previously, they received their salaries in cash, passed down from the ministry via their superior officers. Somewhere along the line, about 30% of their pay had been skimmed off. Indeed, the ministry soon realised that one in 10 police officers whose salaries they had been dutifully paying did not exist... In Kenya, similarly, drivers soon realised that the police officers who pulled them over would not take bribes in M-Pesa: it would be linked to their phone number, and could be used as evidence. Estimates suggest that Kenya's matatus - public transportation minibuses - lose a third of their revenue to theft and extortion."

How economics killed the antibiotic dream - "this is all about incentives. What the world really needs is new antibiotics we put on the shelf and use only in the direst emergencies. But a product that does not get used is not much of a money spinner for drug companies. We need to devise better incentives to encourage more research."
And yet there're libertarians who claim that governments don't need to enforce intellectual property rights - in the libertarian wonderland, most consumers and informed and motivated enough to force companies to do things

How the invention of paper changed the world - "When it comes to writing, though, some say paper's days are numbered, believing the computer will usher in the "paperless office". But this has been predicted since Thomas Edison, in the late 19th century, who thought office memos would be recorded on his wax cylinders instead. The idea really caught on as computers started to enter the workplace in the 1970s and it was repeated in breathless futurologists' reports for the next decades. Meanwhile, paper sales stubbornly continued to boom. Yes, computers made it simple to distribute documents without paper, but printers made it equally easy for recipients to put them on paper anyway."

Rise of the robots: What advances mean for workers - "Some economists reckon robots and AI explain a curious economic trend. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue there's been a "great decoupling" between jobs and productivity - how efficiently an economy takes inputs, like people and capital, and turns them into useful stuff. Historically, better productivity meant more jobs and higher wages... It's possible that some of the jobs humans will be left doing will actually be worse. That's because technology seems to be making more progress at thinking than doing: robots' brains are improving faster than their bodies. Martin Ford, author of Rise Of The Robots, points out that robots can land aeroplanes and trade shares on Wall Street, but still can't clean toilets."

Battery bonanza: From frogs' legs to mobiles and electric cars - "Gradually, the cost of renewable energy is coming down. But even cheap renewables pose a problem - they don't generate power all the time. You'll always have a glut of solar power on summer days and none on winter evenings. When the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, you need coal or gas or nuclear to keep the lights on, so why not run them all the time? A recent study of south-eastern Arizona's grid weighed the costs of power cuts against the costs of CO2 emissions, and concluded that solar should provide just 20% of power. And Arizona is pretty sunny."
So much for base load being a myth

The tiny pill which gave birth to an economic revolution - "Abortion was legalised, laws against sex discrimination were put in place, feminism emerged as a movement, and the drafting of young men to fight in Vietnam forced employers to recruit more women. But a careful statistical study by the Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz strongly suggests that the pill must have played a major role in allowing women to delay marriage and motherhood, and invest in their own careers. Goldin and Katz tracked the availability of the pill to young women in the US, state by state. They show that as each state opened up access to contraception, so the enrolment rate in professional courses soared, and so did women's wages. A few years ago, the economist Amalia Miller used a variety of clever statistical methods to demonstrate that if a woman in her 20s was able to delay motherhood by one year, her lifetime earnings would rise by 10%... In Japan, one of the world's most technologically advanced societies, the pill wasn't approved for use until 1999. Japanese women had to wait 39 years longer than their American counterparts for the same contraceptive. In contrast, when the erection-boosting drug Viagra was approved in the US, Japan was just a few months behind."
Despite what feminists claim (at least in other scenarios like welfare for single mothers), people respond to incentives - even for very personal decisions

Jordan Peterson Is Causing Problems at Another University Now - "For the record: Jordan Peterson is a transphobic YouTube crank with basically nothing interesting to say about free speech or gender expression, and who very obviously has no idea what any part of the phrase “post-modern neo-Marxist” means. He is a bad political and social thinker, and many of his ideas about gender roles are genuinely dangerous. (Tabatha Southey has already written his intellectual obituary by clocking him as “the stupid person’s idea of a smart person,” which is immediately obvious to anyone who listens to his awful honking voice for more than thirty seconds.)
It's quite funny how all the liberals are doing hit jobs on Jordan Peterson that basically amount to "he is dangerous", without providing any evidence. It is telling that comments on this sort of article are overwhelmingly negative (even if other articles published by these outfits have the usual type of comments praising the virtue signalling, showing that it's not dogpiling)
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